Regular Skin Screenings Promotes Cancer Prevention

By  //  May 2, 2012

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SKIN CARE

Part of Épicé’s mission is to inform people about conditions and potential conditions they may have with their skin.

If you suspect you have any of the following issues or have questions about your skin’s health like how to prevent skin cancer or skin cancer treatment, visit a board-certified dermatologist, and get regular screenings.

It’s important to check out skin care products for skin cancer if you find yourself with family history of skin cancer or are sensitive to the sun.

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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer. There are different types of skin cancer including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the outer layers of your skin.

It’s important to find a cancer care product skin can benefit from using, so check out our sunscreen. The skin has two main layers and several kinds of cells. The top layer of skin is called the epidermis. It contains three main kinds of cells: squamous cells, basal cells, and cells called melanocytes, which give your skin its color.

On this site, we provide information on melanoma, basal cell, squamous cell cancers and AK pre-cancers as well as other common skin conditions and ways to prevent sun damage. When it comes to skin care products for skin cancer, you should contact a board-certified dermatologist. Even for tips on how to prevent skin cancer and skin cancer treatment, you should visit a doctor.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment melanin, which colors our skin, hair and eyes.

The majority of melanomas are black or brown. However, some melanomas are skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes the most deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, there will be more than 8,600 fatalities from melanoma in the U.S., and the number of new cases of melanoma is estimated higher than 60,000.

However, if it is recognized and skin cancer treatment is done early, it is nearly 90 percent curable. If it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. For more information on how to prevent skin cancer, please consult a board-certified dermatologist.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of cancer, with about a million new cases estimated in the U.S. each year. Basal cells line the deepest layer of the epidermis. An abnormal growth, or a tumor, in this layer is a basal cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma can usually be diagnosed with a simple biopsy and is fairly easy to treat when detected early.

However, 5 to 10 percent of BCCs can be resistant to treatment or locally aggressive, damaging the skin around them, and sometimes invading bone and cartilage. When not treated quickly, they can be difficult to eliminate. Fortunately, however, this is a cancer that has an extremely low rate of metastasis, and although it can result in scars and disfigurement, it is not usually life threatening.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer, with more than 250,000 new cases per year estimated in the U.S. It arises in the squamous cells that compose most of the upper layer of the skin.

Most SCCs are not serious. When identified early and treated promptly, the future is bright. However, if overlooked, they are harder to treat and can cause disfigurement. While 96 to 97 percent of SCCs are localized, the small percentage of remaining cases can spread to distant organs and become life threatening.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, is the result of prolonged exposure to sunlight. By far the most common pre-cancer, it is a small crusty or scaly bump or horn that arises on or beneath the skin surface.

The base may be light or dark, tan, pink, red, a combination of these, or the same color as your skin. The scale or crust is horny, dry and rough, and is often recognized by touch rather than sight. Occasionally it itches or produces a pricking or tender sensation. It can also become inflamed and surrounded by redness. In rare instances, actinic keratoses can bleed.

The skin abnormality or lesion develops slowly and usually reaches a size from an eighth to a quarter of an inch (2mm to 4mm) but can sometimes be as large as one inch. Early on, it may disappear only to reappear later.

It is not unusual to see several AKs at a time. AKs are most likely to appear on the face, lips, ears, scalp, neck, backs of the hands and forearms, shoulders and back—the parts of the body most often exposed to sunshine. The growths may be flat and pink or raised and rough.

Actinic keratoses can be the first step leading to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Some studies show that 10 percent do advance, and 40 to 60 percent of SCCs begin as untreated AKs.

Eczema

Eczema symptoms include itchy, red and dry skin caused by inflammation. It is most commonly found in children, although adults can get it. There are different types of eczema. The most common is called atopic dermatitis.

Types of Eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Contact eczema
  • Seborrheic eczema
  • Nummular eczema
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Stasis dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema

Eczema treatments typically include prescription ointments and creams, with more severe cases requiring oral steroids. For extreme cases of eczema, therapy using ultraviolet light may be prescribed. Research has shown taking antihistamines can reduce the symptoms as well.

By far the most important treatment, and the key to controlling the itching of eczema, is proper skin care. Use of a soap-free cleanser, tepid bath water and a good moisturizing lotion are the sometimes just as effective as expensive prescriptions.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common and chronic condition that usually causes patches of itchy, scaly and sometimes inflamed skin.

Although they can appear anywhere, these patches—called plaques—are most likely to crop up on your knees, elbows, hands, feet, scalp or back. In about 50 percent of cases, the fingernails and toenails are also affected.

The symptoms of psoriasis can vary a great deal depending on its severity, ranging from mildly annoying to truly debilitating.

While the itchiness and pain can be unpleasant to say the least, some of the worst effects of psoriasis can be emotional. People with severe psoriasis sometimes are so overwhelmed by their condition and self-conscious of their appearance that they feel isolated and depressed.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, researchers estimate that up to seven million people in the U.S. have psoriasis, about 1 to 2 percent of the population. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for this condition, but there are a number of effective treatments that can help keep psoriasis under control.

Acne

Acne occurs when a sebaceous oil gland surrounding a hair follicle becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria growth in this clogged environment causes infection and acne blemishes.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness and pimples on your nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Tiny red veins on the face that look like spider webs are another symptom of rosacea. Rosacea is commonly referred to as “adult acne” because it has a similar appearance as acne. It can also cause burning and soreness in the eyes and eyelids.

Treatments for rosacea include antibiotic creams and pills, prescription medications like Accutane or Retin-A, microdermabrasion, or laser skin rejuvenation.

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