Skin cancer symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment blood cancer report sample

Unlike basal cell carcinomas, these cancers may spread (metastasize) if they become large. It usually occurs on the face, ear, neck, lips, and backs of the hands. SCC can also begin within scars or skin ulcers on other places on the body. As with basal cell carcinoma, the available treatments are very effective if the tumor is detected while it is small and thin.

Melanoma is the most feared type of skin cancer. Though less common than basal cell and squamous cell cancer, it is responsible for the majority of deaths from the disease as a whole. Melanoma may arise in normal skin but often begins in an existing mole. It is found most frequently on the back in men, on the legs in women, and on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and under the fingernails or toenails of people of both sexes with darker skin colors.


That said, these cancers may occur anywhere, including areas of the skin that have never been exposed to the sun.

The incidence of melanoma has been rising dramatically in the United States for the last three decades. While melanoma in general is 20 times more common in whites, the incidence of cases that occur under the nails is similar for people of all skin color. In addition, the survival rate in those diagnosed is lower in blacks.

The prognosis of melanoma is good when found early, but drops precipitously when it spreads to distant lymph nodes or organs, such as the bones, the lungs, the liver, and the brain. Newer treatments, however, are making a difference in survival, and even some advanced melanomas can now be controlled with these options.

• Merkel cell carcinoma: Merkel cell carcinomas are rare skin cancers most often found around the eye in middle-aged people. For unknown reasons, these cancers are increasing. They tend to be aggressive and spread rapidly to other parts of the body.

• Kaposi’s sarcoma: This cancer is caused by the Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, and is usually found in people with HIV/AIDS or who are immunosuppressed for other reasons, such as an organ transplant. It presents as large red, blue, or brown splotches around the body along with swelling that can be severe. Fortunately, it often responds well to HIV medications.

• Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberance: These cancers begin as a hard nodule that originates in the dermis and spreads rapidly. They are related to a gene mutation that results in overproduction of a protein known as a platelet-derived growth factor.

Sometimes, cancers that arise in other areas of the body may spread ( metastasize) to the skin. Cancers most commonly associated with skin metastases include breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. When other cancers spread to the skin they are not classified as skin cancer. In fact, though the cancer may now be affecting the skin, its cells are clearly identifiable as belonging to the instigating cancer when examined under a microscope. Treatment for the cancer at play, rather than skin cancer, is needed.

Some examples of this include inflammatory breast cancer, which often begins with redness and a rash on the breast); Paget’s disease, a form of breast cancer that begins on the skin of the nipples; and cutaneous T cell lymphomas (including mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome), which often begin as flat, red patches of skin that are extremely itchy. Symptoms

Diagnosing skin cancer begins with a careful history (paying attention to symptoms and risk factors) and a physical exam. Based on the appearance of the skin lesion, a doctor may recommend a biopsy, as it can sometimes be difficult to know whether an abnormality is cancer or not based on its visible appearance. This can be even more challenging in non-white populations.

If a skin cancer (melanoma and sometimes squamous cell carcinoma) is advanced, further tests are done to stage the disease and search for the presence of metastases. These may include a sentinel node biopsy, CT scans, a PET scan, or other tests depending on the location of the skin cancer. Treatments

Surgically removing the tumor is the most common treatment. A special surgery called Mohs surgery involves removing successive pieces of tissue and checking the margins for any evidence of cancer so that the least amount of surgery to completely remove the tumor is done. With melanomas, a large area of surrounding tissue is removed.

There are many things you can do to prevent skin cancer or at least reduce your risk. Being careful in the sun is important, but includes more than just wearing sunscreen; using other methods of protection (such as wearing clothing and hats, and avoiding mid-day sun) should be practiced as well. Some occupational exposures may increase risk, and gloves are recommended when working with many different chemicals and substances.

Not all skin cancers can be prevented, and early detection then becomes the goal. Self-skin checks should be considered, especially for those who have any risk factors for the disease. Some people who have significant risk factors or genetic syndromes associated with a higher risk may want to consider regular visits with their dermatologist.

Roughly a third of people will develop some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Being aware of the warning signs of the disease and knowing your risk factors is important in finding these cancers in their earliest and most curable stages. If you have any skin changes that concern you, don’t wait—make an appointment to see your primary care doctor or dermatologist today.