AGING CONDITIONS: CANCER
Skin cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal
cells in a layer of the skin. It attacks one out of
every seven Americans each year, making it the most
prevalent form of cancer. However, the majority of all
skin cancers can be cured if detected and treated in
There are several different kinds of skin cancers,
distinguished by the types of cells affected. The three
most common forms of skin cancer are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma - usually appears
as raised, translucent lumps. This cancer develops in
300,000 to 400,000 persons each year. Although the disease
does not usually spread to other parts of the body through
the blood stream, it may cause consider able damage
by direct growth and invasion.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma - is usually
distinguished by raised reddish lumps or growths. This
form of cancer develops in 80,000 to 100,000 persons
per year. The disease can spread to other parts of the
body. Approximately 2,000 deaths occur each year from
this form of cancer.
Malignant Melanoma - typically first
appears as a light brown to black irregularly shaped
blemish. This serious form of cancer results in death
if undetected and untreated. It can spread to other
parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymph
Treating Skin Cancer
Sskin cancer or precancerous conditions are treated
with the following procedures and techniques. The choice
of procedure depends upon the location of the cancer
and the depth of skin it has penetrated
Curettage - malignant tissue is scraped
away with a sharp instrument. Used for small, superficial
cancers not previously treated .Often followed by destruction
of the cancerous tissue with an electric needle or laser.
Surgical Excision - cutting into
the skin and removing the growth, then closed with stitches.
Cryosurgery - liquid nitrogen is
applied directly to the skin to freeze cancerous tissue.
Topical Chemotherapy - chemicals
capable of destroying precancerous growths are applied
to the skin surface.
MOHS Micrographic Surgery - excision
of a tumor and its surrounding skin with the aid of
a microscope. Used for cancers that have penetrated
deeper layers, the surgeon can excise layer by layer
Laser Surgery - removal of superficial
layers of skin, along with cancerous cells