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AGING CONDITIONS: CANCER

Skin Cancer

 

Introduction

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 time.

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 drainage system.

 

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 until removed.

Laser Surgery - removal of superficial layers of skin, along with cancerous cells

Next: Mesothelioma

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