The skin is the largest organ of the body. The most common cancer among all cancers is skin cancer. Some type of skin cancer is diagnosed in more than 3 million people in the United States annually.
Cancer occurs when normal cells change shape, growing abnormally and multiplying without standard control. As the cells multiply, they form a mass called a tumour. Skin tumours are often referred to as skin lesions.
Tumors are considered cancerous only if they are made up of malignant cells. This means they invade nearby tissues due to their uncontrolled growth.
Tumours may also spread to distant organs through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
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Skin cancer is an unusual growth of skin cells that is often seen on skin that has been exposed to sunlight. However, this cancer can progress in areas of your skin that are not normally exposed to the sun.
Types of skin cancer:
Basal cells are circular cells found in the lower epidermis. About 80% of skin cancers are caused by these types of cells. These cancers are described as basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma most often evolves on the neck and head, although it can be found anywhere on the skin. This condition is mainly caused by exposure to sunlight or occurs in people who have received radiation therapy as children. This type of skin cancer usually slowly grows and rarely spreads to other body parts.
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Most of the epidermis comprises flat, scale-like cells called squamous cells. About 20% of skin cancers arise from these cells, called squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is mainly created by sun exposure, so it may be found in many areas of the skin. This type of skin cancer can also occur on skin that has been burned, damaged by chemicals, or exposed to X-rays.
Squamous cell carcinoma is usually seen on the lips. In place of long-term scars; and on the skin outside the mouth, anus, and vagina. About 2 to 5 per cent of squamous cell carcinoma spreads to other body parts.
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Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare and aggressive or fast-growing cancer. It starts in the hormone-producing cells under the skin and hair follicles. This type of skin cancer is usually found in the head and neck area. Merkel cell carcinoma can also be called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin.
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Where the epidermis meets the dermis, There are scattered cells named melanocytes. These cells produce the melanin pigment that gives the skin its colour. Melanoma, as a type of skin cancer, starts in melanocytes and is the most severe type of skin cancer. It allocates about 1% of all skin cancers for itself.
Sometimes, they are grouped and called keratinocyte carcinoma. This is because they start in a skin cell called a keratinocyte.
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This type is a rare type of skin cancer that spreads in the skin’s blood vessels and leads to purple or red spots on the skin or mucous membranes. Kaposi’s sarcoma is mainly seen in people with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS, or patients taking immunosuppressive drugs (such as those with organ transplants). Other people at risk for Kaposi’s sarcoma include young men living in Africa, elderly Italians, or Eastern European Jews.
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Merkel cell carcinoma results in complex, scaly bumps on the skin or just under the skin in the hair follicles. Merkel cell carcinoma is most often seen in the head, neck, and trunk.
This unusual and aggressive type of skin cancer occurs in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Sebaceous gland carcinomas—which often appear as painless, firm bumps—can occur anywhere but are most commonly seen on the eyelids and are often mistaken for other eyelid problems.
It should be noted that There are several other rare types of skin cancer, including cutaneous lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, skin adnexal tumours, and sarcoma, all of which are classified as non-melanoma skin cancers.
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You don’t have to memorize a long list of symptoms to find skin cancer in your body. Dermatologists summarize the necessary things to check as follows, and if you notice such spots on your skin, you should see a specialist:
After you notice these symptoms for diagnosis, a biopsy will always be needed for an accurate diagnosis of skin cancer.
When you visit a dermatologist because of seeing a suspicious spot on your body, the relevant specialist will carefully examine you.
If he determines that your spot is cancerous, he will remove all or part of it from your body. This can easily be done during your appointment with your doctor.
The procedure your dermatologist uses to remove the spot is called a skin biopsy.
A skin biopsy is essential because it is the only way to detect skin cancer, and there is no other way to be sure of its occurrence.
The section that the dermatologist removes from your skin will be examined under a microscope.
The attending physician places the removed skin under observation to detect cancer cells.
If cancer cells are found, the biopsy report indicates what type of skin cancer cells were found in your skin, but if no cancer cells are found, the biopsy report will describe what was seen under the microscope.
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Any type of Skin cancer occurs due to an error (mutation) in the DNA of skin cells, which causes the uncontrolled growth of cells and creates a mass of cancer cells.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays, present in the rays of sunlight and the lights that are used in tanning beds, cause the most damage to the DNA of skin cells.
Other conditions, like exposure to toxic substances or conditions that weaken the immune system, may increase the risk of skin cancer.
Other factors may increase the risk of skin cancer, which we will mention below:
Many people with any type of skin cancer are treated in the dermatologist’s office. This happens even after three years of treatment in patients who have relapses. So, follow your skin as recommended by your doctor. If you suspect a particular symptom, immediately see the best dermatologist or dermatopathologist.
If you have more profound or advanced malignant melanoma, metastasis or tumour, or actinic keratosis, your oncologist may want to see you every few months. These visits may include full-body skin examinations, regional lymph node examinations, and periodic chest X-rays. Over time, the intervals between subsequent appointments increase. Finally, these reviews may be done only once a year.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.