Reshma, at the age of eighteen noticed a pink bump near her scalp. She tried to treat herself as she thought it was acne but when the size started increasing than she met a dermatologist (a skin specialist). A biopsy was done. Then she noticed lymph nodes on her neck. She used to play softball and naturally got plenty of sun burns on her scalp. Then all her lymph nodes were removed started chemotherapy and radiation. At the age of 31 we ensured that she is cured. Now she is married goes to the beach but is careful and takes a tent, hat, sunglasses and wears a long sleeved shirt.
Many of the survivors feel they are lucky to be alive. Skin cancers are preventable if the right steps are taken according to the doctor’s advice. Protect yourself if you are outside between 10am and 4pm; use a sunscreen lotion and keep applying it. Anything suspicious, seek the advice of the doctor immediately, don’t be afraid to clarify your doubts from us and to take care of your body.
Professional athletes, celebrities and many public figures are helping to spread about skin cancer prevention and detection methods. They say those who have under gone organ transplant have an increased risk of getting skin cancer and it’s more aggressive and spreads faster than in other patients.
The National Cancer Institute and Children’s Oncology Group have advised the survivors who were treated with radiation to perform monthly skin self-examination as it helps for early improvement in skin cancers.
Among all the cancers, the most malignancies around the globe are Skin Cancer. Skin Cancer is divided into Melanoma and Non-melanoma. Non-melanoma is again sub-divided into Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
SYMPTOMS OF SKIN CANCER:
- Changes in the skin, if there is a new growth,
- A sore that does not heal
- A change in an old growth,
- A change in a mole—irregular shape with two parts that seem to look different from one another,
- Border of the mole is irregular,
- Color is uneven,
- Diameter of the mole is larger than a pea.
- Evolving—changes in the mole in the past few weeks or months.
- These changes are called as A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma. The best thing is to talk to a doctor about these changes.
CAUSES OF SKIN CANCER:
- AGE: The older a person is there are more chances of developing skin cancer, even younger people can be affected with the disease.
- SUN EXPOSURE: Most of the skin cancers are caused because of the exposure to the sun. The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells.
- PREVIOUS SKIN CANCER: People who have already had a skin cancer if they continue to expose themselves to the sun may again develop skin cancer.
- FAMILY HISTORY OF SKIN CANCER: Skin type runs in the family so fair skinned families are more likely to develop the disease. People may inherit the genes of the family.
- TANNING BEDS: If people lie out in the sun for long hours that causes sunburns, thereby increasing the risk of getting skin cancer.
PREVENTION OF SKIN CANCER:
Protect your skin against UV exposure during midday between 10am and 2pm.
Wear appropriate clothing—preferably cotton in summer,
To protect the skin use sunscreen lotions.
Every now and then, self examination of your skin for any changes can help to diagnose and treat the disease early also helps.
Annual checkup of the skin after a certain age by a dermatologist is better.
The slogan if followed also helps—‘SLIP! SLOP! SLAP! And WRAP!’—to protect from UV radiation: slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on sunglasses.
6 SUN PROTECTION FOODS:
Diet is an often-overlooked part of any disease. A normal eating habit can protect from UV, but an abnormal eating schedule can be harmful to our skin clock. To protect from the sun a diet is necessary, like:
- BLUEBERRIES: They are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C and can protect the skin from getting damaged.
- WATERMELON: After a few weeks of daily consuming the juice can act as a natural sun block.
- NUTS AND SEEDS: Walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds contain Omega—3 essential fatty acids
- CARROTS AND LEAFY GREENS: These protect against wrinkles, sun damage and skin cancer.
- GREEN TEA: It gives the skin its integrity and firmness.
- CAULIFLOWER: It contains potent antioxidants and is also a natural skin-protective food.
TREATMENT FOR SKIN CANCER:
Eight types of standard treatment are used:
- SURGERY: There are different surgical treatments such as—Simple Excision, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Shave Excision, Curettage, Cryosurgery, Laser Surgery and Dermabrasion.
- Radiation Therapy: High energy X-rays are used to kill cancer cells.
- CHEMOTHERAPY: Drugs are used to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing them or by stopping them from dividing.
- PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY: (PTD) is a cancer treatment that uses a drug and a certain type of light to kill cancer cells.
- IMMUNOTHERAPY: In this the patient’s immune system is used to fight cancer. There are three types of immunotherapy used to treat skin cancer.
- TARGETED THERAPY: Drugs or other substances are used to identify and attack specific cancer cells. This therapy generally causes less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- CHEMICAL PEEL: A chemical solution is put on the skin to dissolve the top layers of skin cells, to improve the way certain skin conditions look.
- OTHER DRUG THERAPY: Retinoids—drugs related to vitamin A, Diclofenac and Ingenol—tropical drugs are used to treat skin cancer.
SKIN CANCER AWARENESS:
Skin cancer awareness among adults is important in the primary prevention of melanoma and sun induced skin cancers. Women are more aware about the protection of the skin than men. Women are also aware that darker-skinned individuals also need to use sun protection. In melanoma cancer men are at a higher risk than women and they lack knowledge about it so, men educate yourself about protecting your skin from skin cancers.