Skin cancer is usually found in fair-skinned people who are exposed to too much sun.
What are the main types of skin cancer?
Basal cell carcinoma
· The commonest and least dangerous type
· Usually appears on the face and neck
· Is easily treated
Squamous cell carcinoma
· Is quite dangerous
· Appears on hands, forearms, face and neck
· Can spread to other parts if left untreated too long
· The rarest and most dangerous type
· Usually starts in a mole
· Can occur anywhere on the body
What are the signs of skin cancer?
· Crusty non-healing sores or ‘ sunspots ‘
· A persistent small lump that is red, pale or pearly in colour
· A new spot, freckle or mole that has changed colour, thickness or shape over months.
· Dark spots (dark brown, black or blue-black ) need special attention.
What are the causes?
The main cause is exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun over a long time. Exposure to some chemicals, such as arsenic and polycyclic hydrocarbons, can cause skin cancer.
What are the areas to watch?
Watch your face, ears, neck, shoulders, arms and the backs of your hands. However, melanoma is an exception and can appear anywhere on the body.
Who is at risk?
Fair-skinned people living in hot, sunny climates are most at risk. People with freckles and fair skin are especially at risk. It is most common in people of Celtic (Scottish, Irish and Welsh ) background. It is not as common in people with very dark skin (of African, Indian and Asian origin). It is rare in Australian Aborigines.
The darker the skin, the lower the risk of developing skin cancer. Those with fair, sensitive skin who burn easily and rarely tan are at greatest risk.
Sunspots ( solar keratosis) are dry, rough, persisting spots on the skin, which can change into skin cancer and need to be watched.
Early detection of a melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma decreases morbidity and mortality, and therefore result in better prognosis of malignant skin tumours. The typical application of dermoscopy is early detection of melanoma.
Dermoscopy is also use to diagnose other types of skin tumors such as basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, cylindromas, dermatofibromas, angiomas, seborrheic keratosis etc.
It is also used in the diagnosis of scabies and pubic louse. This is achieved by staining the skin with India ink. A dermatoscope can help identify the location of the mite in the burrow, facilitating scraping of the scabetic burrow. The dermatoscope can magnify the very small, difficult to see pubic louse, allowing fast and accurate diagnosis and hence, the treatment.
Suspicious moles can be excised by a doctor for biopsy and histology.
- Can we eat to starve cancer?
William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.
How is it prevented?
Protect yourself from the sun:
· Try to avoid direct sunlight when the sun is strongest (from 10am to 3 pm standard time, i.e. from 11am to 4pm daylight-saving time).
· Always wear a broad-brimmed hat, T-shirt and baggy shorts when in the sun.
· Be wary of reflected sun on cloudy days and wind that dries the skin.
· Use a factor 15+ sunscreen on exposed skin and renew it regularly.
· Make sure you protect yourself at high altitudes.
· Wear a shirt or dress with sleeves.
· Protect children from sunburn. Their skin is more sensitive than adults’ skin to sunlight.
The earlier you detect skin cancer, the simpler the treatment. The outlook for most skin cancers is excellent.
You are the best person to check your skin – no one knows it as well as you.
What should be done?
Go to your doctor without delay if you develop a skin lump. The doctor may want to remove part or all of it for examination in the laboratory.
Please seek Medical attention as soon as possible if you are unsure of you or your family's health condition.
* The images of cancerous and benign moles are courtesy of the book 'Dermoscopy' and are for educational purposes only. Kindly consult your doctor if you are unsure or suffering from any medical problems.
Learn what is Cancer, Skin Cancer-Types, Causes & Prevention, Melanomas Explained. Detecting Skin with Dermoscopy
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The information provided in this website is for knowledge purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice.
Should you encounter any medical problem that you are unsure of, always consult your doctor or health care provider for assistance and medical advice.
Dr Don V H LAU Chairperson of AMDA Singapore
MBBS (Monash), B.Med.Sc.(Hons) (Monash), Grad.Dip.Derm.(Wales,UK)
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MBBS (Monash), B Med Sc (Hons) (Monash), Dip Pract Derm (Wales, UK)
Chairperson of AMDA Singapore
Doctor of Chiropractic Southern California University of Health Science
The Chiropractic Association Singapore, Japan Chiropractic Register, American Chiropractic Association, California Chiropractic Association
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