Skin Cancers are types of cancers that can occur anywhere on the skin. They typically present as growths, and usually comprise one of three major types of cancer. These are basal cell cancers, squamous cell cancers, and melanoma cancers. Skin cancer is typically found on the outer layers of the skin, meaning that it is usually visible from its early stages. The fact that it is visible from even the early stages mean that skin cancer can be easily detected, and that preventative and curative efforts can be taken. Skin cancer, with the exception of melanoma, which is the rarest of the three types of skin cancer, is rarely fatal.
While melanoma is relatively rare as skin cancers go, it is still quite prevalent among the population, and results in many deaths. For example, more than two thousand people die from melanoma each year in the UK, and many of these are young people. Melanoma, in fact, is the leading cancer among young people.
The most common cause of skin cancer is sun exposure, or other exposure to UV light such as from a solarium. Either of these can cause any of the three types of skin cancer listed above. Other risk factors for skin cancer include smoking, which increases the likelihood of cancer to the face, as well as other types of skin cancers; wounds that struggle to heal, such as burns; genetic predisposition; and the human papilloma virus (HPV).
While non-melanoma type skin cancers tend to be benign in that they do not spread, melanoma cancers will spread and change aggressively, often resulting in death. Melanomas, however, look quite different from basal-cell and squamous-cell cancers, making them fairly easy to detect. They are typically dark in colour, have irregular borders, and tend to quickly change in size and colour, as well as in hight. They may also itch, bleed, or ulcerate.
The typical treatment of skin cancer involves surgery such as cryotherapy, curettage, or cautery, to remove the cancer, but in cases where the cancer has spread, treatment involving chemotherapy may need to be involved. There are other treatments that can be used depending on the type of cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient. Some studies have also shown that immunotherapy approaches may also have some efficacy against skin cancers, and may useful in both attacking cancers and preventing future recurrences of cancerous growths in skin cancer patients.