Non-melanoma Skin cancer is one of the most common type of cancers. Every year more than two million cases are diagnosed, out of which around one million cases are from the US …
Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer and includes almost all the skin cancer types. It is called non-melanoma skin cancer as it does not include the melanoma skin cancer that develops in cells called melanocytes that produce the pigment called melanin which determines the color of the skin.
You should consult your doctor if you witness any of the following symptoms:
1) Spots on the skin that grow and never heal, multicolored in nature, itchy, tender and also painful. As time passes the spot becomes red and starts swelling.
2) Red colored lumps which are firm and crusty and other colored lumps which are smooth in nature
3) Moles which keep on growing, start itching and change their color or texture.
4) Bleeding sores that grow and last for a long time (about a month or more) and re-appear after healing.
There are different types of non-melanoma skin cancers, out of which Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the most common.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: This slow-growing type of skin cancer starts growing in the basal cell layer which is the lowest layer of the epidermis. Almost 70% of the cases of skin cancer are of basal cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinoma mainly starts growing/developing on the area which is exposed to ultra-violet rays such as neck, head, face, back, hands etc. It has been recorded that the basal cell carcinoma does not spread in the lymph nodes and other parts of the body if treated before its advanced stage. This cancer can re-appear after treatment or has higher chances of developing on other parts of the skin.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer is more harmful and aggressive than basal cell carcinoma and is the second most common type of skin cancers. Almost 20 to 25% cases of all the skin cancers are of squamous cell carcinoma. Similar to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma also appears on the part of the body that is exposed to UV rays. It can also develop in scars, blistering and ulcers. This type of cancer can spread to the other parts/organs of the body and the tissues surrounding the infected area.
Kaposi’s Sarcoma: This type of skin cancer starts growing in the dermis and mainly targets people with weakened immune system such as people suffering from AIDS. In this type of cancer, the tumor starts growing from the connective tissues. This is a rare type of skin cancer.
Markel Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer starts growing from neuroendocrine cells. Markel cell carcinoma can spread to any part of the body and can re-appear once treated. This is also a rare type skin cancer.
Cutaneous Lymphomas: Cutaneous lymphoma starts with the increase of T and B lymphocytes and it develops entirely on the skin.
In most cases, non-melanoma can be diagnosed simply by examining the infected area (it includes self-examination and examination performed by doctor). This is further accompanied by tests such as biopsy which is a test done taking a sample of skin tissue.
Similar to any other types of cancers, non-melanoma skin cancer treatment also involves surgery (in which the tumor and infected tissues from the surrounding area are removed), immunotherapy (in which patient is given immune-stimulating chemical (interferon) to help strengthen immune system and fight cancer), chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Moh’s Micrographic Surgery, Cryosurgery, curettage and desiccation, etc. Some vaccines are also currently under trial to help destroy cancer tumors and help strengthen the patient’s immune system to fight cancer.
People should be careful about over-exposure to ultra-violet rays when going for tanning and should be watchful for any symptoms of skin cancer.