During the summer, many people tend to think of the outdoors as their second home. Whether you’re on the beach every weekend, or a frequent hiker, all outdoors activities have something in common: UV ray exposure. It is well known that frequent and unprotected UV exposure can cause skin cancer. At Laurel Cosmetics, we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancers can be separated into two main categories: melanoma skin cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer.
The non-melanoma skin cancer group encompasses cancer such as Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Basal Cell Carcinomas. These types of skin cancer are most common and are usually due to cumulative ultraviolet damage over the course of several years.
The melanoma skin cancer group is more dangerous. These types should be managed quickly and carefully. Melanoma skin cancers can appear in the form of abnormal moles or in normal skin. Those who have melanoma skin cancer often have a history of a severe sunburn episode. Melanoma skin cancers can appear up to 5-10 years after a severe sunburn episode.
Main Types of Skin Cancer
Some of the most common types of skin cancer include:
- Actinic Keratosis. An actinic keratosis (AK) can often be the first step in the development of skin cancer. If treated early, AKs can be removed without turning into any types of skin cancer. AKs appear as scaly or crusty bumps on the skin. These should be treated as quickly as possible to prevent skin cancer development.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma. This is the most common type of skin cancer. These cancers arise in the basal cells, which are at the bottom of the epidermis. The main cause of BBC is exposure to sunlight. BCC can sometimes resemble psoriasis or eczema.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is the second most common type of skin cancer. These types of cancers often start as actinic keratosis. SCC is most often caused by sun exposure, but can also result from burns, scars, long-standing sores, X-ray exposure, and certain chemicals like arsenic and petroleum by-products.
- Malignant Melanoma. This is the most serious form of skin cancer. This cancer originates from the melanin-producing cells that color our skin. Although it is dangerous when left untreated, when diagnosed and removed early it is almost 100% curable.
How is it Treated?
The treatment you receive after a skin cancer diagnosis largely depends on the type of skin cancer you have.
Treatments may include:
- Cryotherapy. This treatment freezes tumor cells and is most often used to treat actinic keratosis.
- Photodynamic Therapy. This treatment is also good for the treatment of precancerous cells, and can remove large areas of actinic keratosis lesions on the face, scalp and body. It is also used to remove non-melanoma cancers.
- Surgery and Flap Repair. The cancer can be surgically excised and sent off for examination to make sure all cancer cells are removed. If the skin cancer is quite large, neighboring skin can be rotated or moved to cover the wound. This is called a skin flap, and can produce a nicer looking result once healed.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer or are worried you may have skin cancer, be sure to contact Laurel Cosmetics today!