Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers. Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun's damaging effects begin at an early age. So, protection should start in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life. It has also been estimated that nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once.
There are two main types of non-melanoma skin cancer:
- Basal cell cancer: This is the most common type of skin cancer, which develops from basal cells, the deepest layer of skin. It's more common in people in middle or old age.
- Squamous cell skin cancer: This Develops in the upper layer of the skin. This type of cancer can spread to the deeper layers of the skin and occasionally to nearby lymph nodes and other organs.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Most ultraviolet radiation comes from sunlight, but some may come from artificial sources, such as tanning booths or sunlamps.
A number of things may put you at higher risk of having skin cancer some day:
- Having fair skin, red or blond hair
- Having light-colored eyes
- Sunburning easily
- Having many moles, freckles or birthmarks
- Working or playing outside
- Being in the sun a lot as a child
- Having had a serious sunburn
- Having family members with skin cancer
- Tanning in the sun or with a sunlamp
Since we know that there are a variety of different skin cancers, then it means symptoms of skin cancer depend upon there types. These include sores or changes in the skin that do not heal, ulcers in the skin, discoloring in parts of the skin, and changes in existing moles.
A central depression with crusting and bleeding (ulceration) frequently develops. Small blood vessels may be visible within the tumor.
The number of deaths due to skin cancer, though, is fairly small. The good news is that skin cancer is now almost 100% curable if found early and treated promptly.
Radiation is another treatment choice, particularly for primary lesions requiring difficult or extensive surgery (e.g., eyelids, nose, ears). It eliminates the need for skin grafting when surgery would result in an extensive defect. Cosmetic results are generally good to excellent with a small amount of hypopigmentation in the treatment port.
A photosensitising cream will be applied to your skin. You will then need to wait for approximately four to six hours before being treated. Treatment with the light will last 20–45 minutes. Afterwards a dressing will be put on to cover the area and protect it from light.