Do you know what types of skin cancer are ? Mainly due to excessive exposure to the sun due to the action of ultraviolet rays, the disease is related to abnormal growth and without control of skin cells. Therefore, it is essential to be alert to signs, such as the presence of spots and stains.
In fact, skin cancer is the type with the highest incidence in Brazil – corresponding to 33% of all diagnoses of this disease . Each year, the National Cancer Institute (Inca) records about 180 thousand new cases. Prevention is the best way to avoid illness, which has a greater chance of cure when detected early .
In this article, I will show you the types of skin cancer, the main symptoms, the risk factors, how the diagnosis and treatment are carried out and how to prevent the disease. Check out!
What are the types of skin cancer?
There are two types of skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma . The latter is divided into basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma . Understand about them below!
Melanoma cancer mainly affects white adults. It appears in the cells that produce melanin , a substance responsible for skin color. However, in addition to this organ, it can reach mucous membranes. Characterized by spots, spots and signs, the disease represents only 3% of malignant neoplasms.
In general, this type of skin cancer appears in regions of the body most exposed to solar radiation . At first, it is perceived in superficial layers, so the chances of a positive response to treatment are good. However, in an advanced stage, the lesion becomes deeper and can cause metastasis , that is, spread to other organs.
When diagnosed early, this type of cancer has a great chance of cure. The disease is characterized by two types of tumors. See below what they are!
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and least aggressive skin cancer, which has a slow evolution and low lethality . Most of the time, it is characterized by a red and shiny pimple, with a crust in the center that can bleed easily.
It appears in the basal cells , the deepest layer of the epidermis, affecting mainly the ear, the scalp , the neck, the shoulders, the back and the face. In addition to exposure to the sun, its appearance is related to non-cancerous lesions, such as psoriasis and eczema.
Squamous cell carcinoma
In turn, squamous cell carcinoma appears in squamous cells , which form most of the upper layers of the skin. The disease presents itself through a wound or above a scar due mainly to the burn. It is reddish in color and sometimes bleeds. It may also look like warts.
Most recurrent in men, this type of cancer is of high severity when it causes metastasis . The most affected regions are also the most exposed to the sun, although the disease can affect any part of the body. When this happens, the skin undergoes changes in pigmentation, wrinkling and loss of elasticity.
In addition to being due to skin scarring and chronic wounds, squamous cell carcinoma is also observed in individuals who are frequently exposed to radiation and certain chemical agents or in patients who used drugs to prevent rejection after organ transplantation.
What are the main symptoms of the disease?
The most common signs of skin cancer are as follows:
- pink, reddish and dark lesions, if they are malignant;
- scaly patches on the skin;
- slow and progressive increase of the lesion;
- spots that bleed, itch, undergo changes in color, texture and size and slowly expand;
- asymmetry and uneven edges of the lesion.
It is essential to observe these signs and schedule a medical appointment as soon as possible so that the lesions can be analyzed. Only the specialized professional will be able to identify the problem and recommend the most appropriate therapeutic resource for each case, in order to eliminate or keep the disease under control.
What are the risk factors?
Although skin cancer can affect anyone, it is more prevalent in individuals in certain groups. To know:
- age over 40 years;
- clear skin and eyes;
- albinos, with vitiligo and sensitive to the action of sunlight;
- family history of the disease;
- exposed to the sun constantly, including for a long time;
- with previous skin diseases.
How is the diagnosis made?
The professional responsible for diagnosing skin cancer is the dermatologist . It uses the following resources:
- dermatoscopy : the device allows you to view layers of skin not seen with the naked eye;
- biopsy : it is the recommended test to confirm skin cancer. The collected material is sent to the specialized laboratory, which is responsible for issuing the report;
- other tests : necessary to determine the extent of the cancer and its location, in order to assist in the most appropriate treatment.
How is the treatment of skin cancer?
The treatment of skin cancer varies by type and extent . Therefore, it is up to the doctor to assess which is the best resource for each patient. In general, the procedures performed include the use of topical and oral medications, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
In addition, cancers – especially carcinomas – can be treated through surgical intervention. Below are the available alternatives:
- excisional surgery : removal of the tumor and the edge of the healthy skin with a scalpel;
- cryosurgery : elimination of small tumors by freezing with liquid nitrogen;
- curettage and electrodissection : scraping of the tumor with a curette at the same time as the destruction of cancer cells with an electric scalpel;
- Mohs micrographic surgery : tumor removal and skin fraction with curette. The technique is repeated until the cancer cells have completely disappeared;
- laser surgery : removal of tumor cells using a laser;
- photodynamic therapy (PDT) : application of photosensitizing agent and exposure of areas to intense light, in order to destroy tumor cells.
How to prevent the disease?
Check out ways to prevent skin cancer that can be adopted by anyone:
- use sunscreen against UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays ;
- throw in sunglasses and hats;
- avoid exposing yourself to the sun between 10 and 16 hours;
- if you work in the sun, wear appropriate clothing that protects your entire body;
- watch the skin. See if there are spots, spots or “warts” appearing;
- see a dermatologist regularly , especially if you have clear, sensitive skin or a family history of cancer.
Now, yes, you are aware of what types of skin cancer are, how to treat and prevent them. In fact, the best way to avoid the disease is through prevention, so the recommendation is to adopt the good practices listed above. With health up to date, we are able to live well and fully enjoy every moment.