General information about skin cancer
- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Vietnam. But it is also one of the most curable cancers when we detect it early.
- Melanoma is a rare and very aggressive skin cancer that forms in melanoma cells. These are your pigment-producing cells, called melanin .
- But the majority of skin cancers are nonmelanoma, meaning they are not related to melanocytes. The two most common of these are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. They can almost always be cured if caught early.
- But melanoma – if you don’t find it and treat it early – can quickly become a more difficult problem to treat.
Causes of skin cancer?
- Except in rare cases, most skin cancers arising from ultraviolet DNA-induced mutations affect the epidermal cells.
- Many of these early cancers seem to be controlled by natural immune surveillance, which when damaged, can allow the growth of malignant cell masses to begin to grow into tumors.
Cells related to skin cancer
Skin cancer begins in the top layer of your skin – the epidermis. The epidermis is a thin layer that provides a protective layer of skin cells that keep your body constantly peeling off. The epidermis contains three main types of cells:
- Squamous cells: located just below the outer surface and act as the inner lining of the skin.
- Basic cells : creates new skin cells, located below the squamous cells.
- Melanocytes : produces melanin, the pigment that gives normal skin color – located in the lower part of your epidermis. Melanocytes produce a lot of melanin when you’re in the sun to help protect the deeper layers of the skin.
Where your skin cancer begins determines its type and your treatment options.
Factors that increase the risk of skin cancer
- Sunburn: If you have a history of sunburn, or have spent a lot of time in the sun, your incidence increases for both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer.
- Bright skin, eyes and hair: The less pigmentation in your skin, the less your cells are protected against dangerous UV rays. Nonmelanoma is rare if your skin is dark, but you can still have melanoma.
- Living area: If you live in a warm climate, or high altitude, you will be exposed to higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which can cause the malignancy rate of you rise.
- Age: As the years go on, you experience more and more harmful UV rays. Most types of nonmelanomas seem to appear in adults 50 years of age and older.
- History of skin cancer: If you already have skin cancer other than skin cancer, you’re more likely to grow back. And if someone in your family already has it, your chances also increase. The same is true for malignant tumors. If you have a parent or sibling with a malignant tumor, its growth rate also increases.
- Gender: Men are more likely to get non-watermelon skin cancer than women. However, women under the age of 50 are more likely to develop malignant tumors than men of the age.
- Exposure to toxins: Working around chemicals such as arsenic and exposure to radiation, can damage skin cells and increase the likelihood of skin cancer.
- Solarium: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation through the use of a sunbed, or solarium, significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma. Solariums emit up to 6 times higher levels of UV radiation than the midday sun.
- Having moles: The more moles you have, the greater your chance of developing melanoma.
- A weak immune system: If your immune system is compromised, your body cannot fight cancer.
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
- A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer.
- This may be a new growth, an ulcer that does not heal or a mole change.
- Not all skin cancers are the same.
Signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma
- A pink, red, pearly or translucent bump appears
- Growth or damage of ruddy skin with raised contouring lines in the center
- Increased red patches may be crusted or itchy, but often painless
- A white, yellow, or waxed area with poorly defined borders can resemble scars
Signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma
- Persistent, scaly red patches with irregular borders can easily bleed
- The open wound does not go away for weeks
- A growth with a rough surface is indented
- Growth is like warts
Actinic keratoses (AK), also known as solar keratoses, scaly, brittle lesions caused by ultraviolet radiation, usually on the face, scalp and back of hands. This is considered a precursor because if left untreated, up to 10% of purple keratoses can develop squamous cell carcinoma.
Stage of skin cancer
- To determine the stage or severity of skin cancer, your doctor will determine the extent of the tumor, if it has spread to your lymph nodes and if it has spread to other parts of your skin. the body.
- Skin cancer is divided into two main groups for staging purposes: non-melanoma and melanoma.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
- Phase 0: Abnormal cells do not spread beyond the outermost layer of the skin or epidermis.
- State 1: cancer may have spread to the next skin layer, the dermis, but it is no longer than two centimeters.
- Phase 2: The tumor is larger than two centimeters, but it does not spread to nearby sites or lymph nodes.
- Phase 3: cancer has spread from the primary tumor to nearby tissue or bone, and it is larger than three centimeters.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor site to lymph nodes and bone or tissue. The tumor is also larger than three centimeters.
Periods of melanoma include:
- Stage 0: This type of non-invasive skin cancer has not invaded under the epidermis.
- Stage 1: The cancer may have spread to the second skin layer, the dermis, but it is still small.
- Stage 2: The cancer has not spread beyond the original tumor site, but it is larger, thicker and may have other signs or symptoms. These include scabs, bleeding or flaking.
- Stage 3: The cancer has spread or metastasized to your lymph nodes or to nearby skin or tissue.
- Stage 4: The most advanced stage of melanoma. Stage IV is a sign that the cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor and appears in lymph nodes, organs or tissues that are further away from the original site.
When cancer comes back after treatment, it is called recurrent skin cancer. Anyone who has been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer is at risk of recurrence. That makes follow-up care and self-check even more important.
Your recommended treatment plan will depend on different factors, such as the size, location, type and stage of your skin cancer. After considering these factors, your healthy doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Cryotherapy: Growth is frozen using liquid nitrogen and tissue is destroyed when thawed.
- Removed surgery: Growth and some healthy skin around it is removed.
- Mohs surgery: Growth is removed layer by layer and each layer is examined under a microscope until no abnormal cells are found.
- Electric scraping and burning: A long spoon-shaped blade is used to scrape away cancer cells and the remaining cancer cells are burned with electric needles.
- Chemotherapy: The drug is taken orally, applied topically, or by injection or IV to kill cancer cells.
- Photodynamic therapy: A laser light and medication are used to kill cancer cells.
- Radioactive: High energy beams are used to destroy cancer cells.
- Biological therapy: Biological treatments are used to stimulate your immune system to fight cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: A cream applied to your skin to stimulate your immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Prevent skin cancer
To reduce the risk of skin cancer, avoid exposing your skin to sunlight and other sources of UV radiation for extended periods. For example:
- Avoid sun beds and sun lamps.
- Avoid direct sunlight when the sun is strongest, from 10 am to 4 pm, either indoors or in the shade during those times.
- Apply sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of 30 or more to any exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply regularly.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and dry, dark, tightly woven fabrics when you’re out in the daytime.
- Wear sunglasses with 100% UVB and UVA protection.
It is also important to regularly check your skin for changes such as new growths or spots. Tell your doctor if you notice anything suspicious.
If you have skin cancer, early identification and treatment can help improve your long-term outlook.
benefits of sunlight
- Although sunlight is one of the causes of skin cancer, the lack of sunlight will also adversely affect human health.
- Sunlight not only lifts your mood, it can help prevent all kinds of diseases, including cancer.
- Sunlight plays an important role in the production of vitamin D in the body, and it is believed that vitamins can play a role in stopping or slowing tumor growth by preventing overproduction. of the cells, as well as in strengthening the bones.
- Vitamin D is available in some foods, but it is estimated that up to 90 percent comes from exposure to sunlight.
- Exposure to sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal emotional disturbances and sleep quality.
- When sunlight hits the skin, a compound called nitric oxide is released into the blood vessels, a process that lowers blood pressure to a level that can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Should take at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily, especially in the morning will help you get good sunlight without harming the skin.
Source of Skin Cancer Reference:
- Source mayoclinic.org article Skin cancer : https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20377605 , updated February 20, 2019.
- Source nhs.uk article Skin cancer : https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-melanoma-skin-cancer/ , updated January 3, 2019.
- A reputable source index-china.com sums up the article What is skin cancer? : https://index-china.com/skin-cancer/ , updated 13/3/2020.
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Tran Ngoc Anh is currently Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Head of Department of General-Uematology of Hanoi Medical University. Consulting doctor at ThuocLP Pharmacy.
Professional qualifications, Academic degrees – Education:
Graduated from General Practitioner System, Hanoi Medical University
Graduated with a Master degree in Internal Medicine, Hanoi Medical University
Graduated from the training program specialized in Gastrointestinal, Henri Mondor Institute Center, University of Paris 6, French Republic 1996-1997; 1999
Graduated from the training program specialized in Gastrointestinal, North Royal Sydney Hospital, Australia; 2002
Graduated from a training program specialized in chronic liver diseases, Pizza, Italy 2009
Graduated with a PhD in Gastrointestinal, Hanoi Medical University
Associate Professor, Gastroenterology, Hanoi Medical University
Training and Scientific Research:
Published more than 200 articles in domestic and international specialized journals
Editor of many monographs and participates in compiling 2 textbooks.
Guide many students and graduate students of Hanoi Medical University
Manager of many grassroots research projects
Certificate of Good Clinical Practice (GCP: 2012, 2015), Ministry of Health
Specialized certificates: General gastrointestinal endoscopy, Interventional gastrointestinal endoscopy, General gastrointestinal ultrasound, Interventional gastrointestinal ultrasound (Bach Mai BV), Chronic liver disease.