Skin cancer can have a variety of different appearances.
This is because there are different types of skin cancer.
For some patients, skin cancer might represent a mole or a freckle that is changing in size or shape or color over a period of weeks or months.
For other patients, skin cancer might represent a flesh-colored lump
that is growing rapidly over a period of weeks.
Sometimes, these may bleed or crust or a patient may see an area of skin that seems to scab up and heal again and this may repeat over and over.
Those are the three main appearances of skin cancer.
What are the Different types of Skin cancer?
There are different types of skin cancer.
Many parts of the skin can be affected by the sun’s rays.
The most common type we see, which is the most common cancer of all, is basal-cell carcinoma.
And this is often seen as a shiny, pearly growth, which may bleed or crust often on sun-exposed areas of the skin like the face, upper body and scalp.
Another type we see is squamous cell carcinoma.
This is a little more aggressive than the basal-cell carcinoma type and can grow quite rapidly as a fast growing lump, which may have some dead dry skin on the top.
Another type of skin cancer, which is less common, but well-known because it has a potential to spread, is malignant melanoma, and this may arise appearing like a freckle or mole that is changed and gone dark or red or has started to bleed or crust.
How Does Skin cancer affect the Body?
The different types of skin cancer can affect the body in different ways.
The most common type – basal-cell carcinoma – does not really affect the body other than the skin and structures that the basal-cell carcinoma is lying on.
For example, if the basal-cell carcinoma is on your abdomen, only the skin of the abdomen in that particular area will be affected.
In other areas which are more cosmetically important, such as the eyelids, the ears, the nose, or the lips, the basal-cell carcinoma can burrow in a bit deeper into the structures underneath.
However, it’s very unusual, in fact, very rare, for a basal-cell carcinoma to spread in the body or to affect the body in other ways.
In contrast to this, the other two common types of skin cancer—squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma—do have the ability to affect other parts of the body and spread remotely.
Therefore, there’s more urgency in their treatment and they’re taken a bit more seriously for that reason.
That’s not all….
What options are there for Skin cancer Treatment?
There are a variety of options for skin cancer treatment depending on exactly which skin cancer
we’re dealing with and at what stage it’s diagnosed.
The earliest stages of skin cancer are relatively easy to treat.
Sometimes with cream, sometimes simply scraping off the area and cauterizing it.
And when they’re more advanced that this, we can do local surgery under local anaesthetic, perhaps with some stitches to the skin in the area affected.
Should things become more advanced than that, there are still other options,
radiotherapy or options such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy in which the treatment is administered to the whole body.
What is Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is a specialised form of skin cancer surgery performed by a dermatologist specially trained in the technique.
The skin cancer is cut out under local anesthetic with the patient awake, but the idea is to keep a very small hole.
The skin cancer can be analyzed almost immediately after it’s been removed, and, should there be any left behind, a small area can be cut again just to make sure it’s all gone.
The idea is that we keep testing and cutting until the entire skin cancer is removed.
The advantage is we can keep the surgical hole no bigger than it needs to be,
hopefully just matching the size of the growth itself.
The other great advantage of this technique is we have a high degree of assurance that skin cancer has been completely removed.
This clearance can reach as high as 99% and therefore, Mohs surgery remains the best technique for
removing many types of skin cancer.