Do you know the skin is the largest organ in the human body?
Not only does the skin provide a protective barrier against heat and cold, but it also provides protection against light and infection.
The skin consists of 2 layers, along with numerous types of cells:
Skin cancer is diagnosed when malignant (cancerous) cells are found within the outer layers of the skin. We will discuss the 3 most common types of skin cancers.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma skin cancer. Actually, 70% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas. It usually appears in the form of a small raised bump with a pearly appearance, typically appearing on overly sun-exposed skin. Basal cell carcinomas can spread to the skin surrounding them, however, they rarely spread to other parts of the body. An ENT specialist can help with basal cell carcinoma treatment options.
Squamous cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma skin cancer, can be seen on the overly sun-exposed parts of the body— hands, forehead, lower lip, nose. This type of skin cancer appears in the form of a firm, red bump, or an ulceration of the skin that will not heal. Unfortunately, squamous cell carcinomas can spread to the lymph nodes around the area. Twenty percent of all skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
Melanoma is a malignant skin cancer that arises from the melanocytes in the skin.
According to much scientific evidence, UV radiation from the sun is a cause for most types of skin cancer. Family history also plays an important role, especially with melanoma. Most of the skin cancers occur on overexposed, sun-exposed areas of skin (such as getting skin cancer on your forehead); the lighter your skin type, the more susceptible you are to UV damage and to skin cancer.
If it is diagnosed and treated early on, the vast majority of skin cancers can be cured. It is always best to protect your skin from sun damage as much as possible.
Also, you should be aware of the early signs of skin cancer, including:
If you or a loved one notices any of these signs, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors right away.
A biopsy can be taken if you have a spot or a lump on your skin. Performed in the office, the biopsy will allow our ENT doctors to remove the growth and examine the tissue underneath a microscope. The biopsy usually involves numbing of the skin with a local anesthetic. The results can indicate if the skin lesion is a cancer (malignancy).
There are 3 ways to treat skin cancer:
The treatment prescribed will depend upon the type and size of cancer, your overall health, and your age.
This is the most common form of skin cancer treatment. Surgery can be performed in-office or as an outpatient procedure.
There are times when radiation therapy is needed as the sole treatment for skin cancer or treatment after surgery. This depends on the patient’s situation.
If you have any of the factors listed below, you may be at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. In these cases, be careful about sun exposure.