Spot The Early Warning Signs Of Skin Cancer

December 13, 2020

Common Skin Cancer Symptoms and Causes
Sunlight contains ultraviolet rays that are harmful to human skin cells. These high-energy light waves can cause mutations in the DNA of skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. In areas close to the equator, the incidence of skin cancer increases dramatically due to increased sun exposure.

The most obvious early warning sign of skin cancer is the appearance of persistent bumps or blotches on sunburned skin areas. These spots are likely to bleed and produce superficial erosions with minimal trauma.

Ultraviolet light and skin cancer
There are three types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC is very dangerous, but because of the ozone layer, it does not reach the earth’s surface. There is a potential risk of skin cancer from exposure to UVA and UVB radiation.

UVA Radiation
UVA light is the most abundant source of solar radiation. Scientists believe it can penetrate the top layers of the skin, potentially destroying connective tissue and causing skin cancer. An estimated 50% of UVA exposure occurs in the shade. Lighter skin is more susceptible to UVA radiation: dark skin allows only 17.5% of UVA light to penetrate, while lighter skin allows 55% of UVA light to pass through.

UVB Radiation
Sunburns are primarily caused by UVB radiation, which accounts for only about 5% of the light reaching the Earth’s surface due to the ozone layer. UVB light can be filtered out by glass windows and does not penetrate as deeply into the skin as UVA, but it can still cause some forms of skin cancer. UVB can be absorbed directly by DNA. Dark skin is twice as effective as light skin in preventing UVB penetration.

How Skin Cancer Develops
UV rays cause skin cancer by damaging the DNA of skin cells. This damage is caused by free radicals, which are the superactive molecules in UV light. Free radicals cause damage to the DNA double helix, altering the way cells replicate and die naturally, which is how cancer forms. In addition to sun exposure, free radicals are also found in environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, alcohol and other toxins.

Skin Cancer. Radiation Keratosis (actinic keratosis)
Actinic keratoses are scaly, keratinous, red, tender bumps that are present in sun-exposed areas. They are essentially very thin skin cancers that have not yet penetrated the deeper tissues. Large areas of skin thus exposed to sunlight for years on end can lead to what has recently become known as carcinomatous field defects. Continued exposure to UV light will likely induce aggressive malignancies. Prevention and treatment of this condition, which is most common in less pigmented populations, is an important part of medical skin care.

Skin Cancer. Farmer’s lip cancer
Actinic keratitis is simply a keratoconus that affects the mucous membrane of the lips (the vermillion border). This condition usually affects the lower lip simply because of the angle of incidence of light waves from the top of the head onto the face. The forehead, cheeks, nose, and lower lip receive light waves vertically, unobstructed by anatomical structures such as the eyebrows.

Skin cancer. Skin Angle
Skin horns are a mass of dead skin cells. Essentially, they have much in common with hair and nails, as these are also composed of dead skin cells. The substrates that produce horns can be actinic keratosis, squamous cell carcinoma, or benign keratosis. The only way to distinguish between these three diseases is to perform a surgical procedure called a biopsy and have a pathologist examine the lesion in the laboratory.

Identifying a cancerous mole
The word “mole” probably comes from the German language and means a spot. In the context of skin, a mole is a long-standing skin spot that is somewhat darker than a freckle. Since there are benign and malignant skin growths that fit this description, a more precise description is needed. The number of moles on a person’s body is most closely related to skin color and exposure to sunlight during childhood. In the Nordic population, the average number of moles per person is about 35.

Melanocytic Moles
Melanocytic nevi (nevus singular) are localized growths of melanocytes that may be present at birth or may develop until the third decade of life. They range in color from black to flesh-colored. Melanocytic nevi can develop into melanoma, especially if they are large, and in children under the age of 10 years, congenital melanocytic nevi have a higher risk of developing into melanoma, accounting for 70% of all cases.

Atypical nevus
When a doctor examines a particular spot or mole, it may appear ordinary or peculiar. Most of these atypical moles – when examined under a microscope – are not cancerous; it is the new lesions that appear in adulthood that appear to be the ones most likely to become malignant melanoma.

The term dysplastic refers to changes noted in moles that can only be appreciated under the microscope. The term can only be used when describing the microscopic appearance of a mole or other tissue. Most atypical moles show some degree of dysplasia under the microscope.

ABCDE of melanoma
In order to systematize the description of moles, physicians use a variety of adjectives to describe the visible changes. To simplify things, benign lesions are almost always uniform in color, round in shape, and exhibit bilateral symmetry, with any axis drawn through their diameter. Malignant melanoma deviates more or less from this appearance. To help people remember these criteria, they are referred to as ABCDEs (notations) of mole description. Another valuable consideration is the so-called “ugly duckling” nevus, which appears markedly different from all other skin spots on the patient.

Symptoms of melanoma.” The “A” stands for asymmetry.
Asymmetry refers to the degree of similarity in appearance when one compares the appearance of each of the four quadrants produced by an imaginary cross across the middle of a melanocytic mole.

Symptoms of melanoma.” The “B” refers to the border
The border is the degree of round regularity of the pigmented lesion margin. Completely rounded lesions are rarely malignant.

Symptoms of melanoma.” The “C” refers to the color
Color: The degree of uniformity of color is a measure of atypicality. The more colors present, the greater the likelihood that the lesion will be malignant.

Symptoms of melanoma.” The “D” is for diameter.
diameter. Although malignant pigmented lesions tend to be larger than a pencil eraser, this is a less reliable criterion for distinguishing melanoma.

Symptoms of melanoma.” The “E” refers to the evolution
evolving. Malignant tumors tend to change in nature over time — primarily increasing in size — whereas benign lesions are stable. Because cancers grow in an uncontrolled manner, they tend to produce asymmetrical lesions.

Screening for cancerous moles
If there are any peculiarities in the appearance or behavior of a mole, it is best to have it evaluated by a specialist. This is usually a dermatologist. Most dermatologists can determine if the pigmented lesion is made up of melanocytes or is something completely different without the possibility of melanoma. Many dermatologists now use a hand-held magnifying device that produces polarized light to evaluate colored melanocytomas. The use of this device has improved the physician’s ability to identify suspicious lesions.

Evaluating Potentially Cancerous Moles
The decision as to which mole needs to be examined depends on the surgeon’s concern that it may be cancerous. Because the procedure required to remove the suspicious bump is simple, requires only local anesthesia, and has few complications, the threshold for this procedure is appropriately low. If the lesion originates from melanocytes and it looks strange, exhibits any of the ABCDE criteria, and/or the patient complains that the mass is bleeding or is irritated or itchy, this is usually enough to trigger a biopsy.

Malignant Melanoma
Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer because it tends to spread to other parts of the body at a very early stage. The likelihood of its spread is most directly related to the thickness of the melanoma from surface to depth as measured by the pathologist. This information is communicated to the physician submitting the melanoma, and subsequent treatment depends on this information.

Symptoms of Melanoma
In addition to the ABCDE of melanoma, symptoms of melanoma include.

Pain that does not heal
The pigment that spreads from the edge of a spot to the surrounding skin.
Redness or swelling around a skin spot
Itchy, soft, or painful spots.
Scales, bleeding, or oozing on the surface of a mole.

How melanoma cancer develops
Although it is possible for a previously benign mole to become malignant, most cases of melanoma cancer begin as a single malignant cell in previously normal skin and then continue to grow uncontrollably.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas begin as malignant tumors of living epidermal cells that grow and invade the deeper layers of the skin. They usually begin as actinic keratoses and develop over many years. Although most actinic keratoses do not develop into squamous cell carcinoma, if a person has a large number of actinic keratoses and they continue to receive enough ultraviolet radiation to produce enough mutational events, it is highly likely that they will develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinomas are thick, keratinized masses that appear on sun-exposed skin and continue to expand. They do not usually spread to distant sites, but larger lesions can do so.

Bowen’s Disease. Is It Cancer?
The so-called “Bowen’s disease” lesions are simply squamous cell carcinomas that have not yet penetrated the deeper layers of the skin. They involve the entire thickness of the most superficial living layer of the epidermis, unlike actinic keratoses, which involve the upper part of the epidermis. They appear to be a stage in the progression from actinic keratosis to invasive squamous cell carcinoma, which is therefore a cancer. Bowen’s disease is easily cured by cryotherapy, cautery, and other methods.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas arise in the lowest layer of skin cells in the epidermis and are the most common form of skin cancer. They are locally aggressive, so they should be treated before they become so large that they are difficult to remove. Tumors have a shiny surface, are pearly white in color, and tend to bleed easily. They often ulcerate.

Who is at risk for skin cancer and why?
Sunlight is by far the most common cause of skin cancer. Most exposure occurs during leisure time or while sunbathing. The benefits of sun exposure seem to be largely limited to the production of vitamin D in the skin and the perception that darker skin is more aesthetically pleasing. Vitamin D needs can be easily met through dietary supplementation. Light-skinned people with blond or red hair who live near the equator are most likely to develop skin cancer.

Reducing the Risk of Skin Cancer
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, it is also important to avoid exposure to sunlight as much as possible. A balanced diet and active exercise can improve your body’s ability to fight free radical damage and heal.

Protect Your Skin
Anytime there is a darkening of the skin after sun exposure, some damage has been done. Since the latency period for skin cancer and photoaging is quite long (5-15 years), it is difficult to convince sun-worshippers to go indoors.

Avoiding UV damage
Using clothing, seeking shade, and using an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen are all effective behaviors to limit sun damage.

Seeking Shade to Avoid Skin Cancer
Shade is the first line of defense against skin damage. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest, find a place to shade or wear a wide-brimmed hat. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a hat with a wide brim all around, at least three inches wide.

While shade is an important protective measure against skin cancer, it can still leave you vulnerable to UV rays, which can reach your skin indirectly. UV radiation can bounce off clouds, dry sand, concrete and other UV-reflecting surfaces.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen
There are fairly durable sunscreens available that block all wavelengths of UVB rays with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 50. When choosing a sunscreen, it helps to look for the words “broad spectrum” or “multispectral.” This indicates that your sunscreen is blocking both UVA and UVB rays. Keep in mind that these phrases don’t actually indicate how much of each ray is being blocked. Also, if you sweat or swim in the sun, consider using an FDA-approved “water-resistant (40 or 80 minutes)” sunscreen.