Causes and Treatment of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the United States. Around 1 million people are reported to be suffering from skin cancer. The largest organ of the body protects us from infection, heat, and injuries. Cancer of the skin is caused due to exposure to sun rays. The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun is the major cause of cancer of the skin.
No exact cause of skin cancer has yet been established and it is assumed that there can be several factors accumulated together, which are responsible for such cancer. However, most experts agree that the most common environmental condition linked with cancer of the skin is excessive exposure of skin to ultraviolet radiation. Although sun rays are the most significant source of ultraviolet radiation, it is not the only source.
Causes and Risk Factors:
- Exposure to High-Level X-Rays: X-rays are electromagnetic radiations that are linked with the development of carcinomas in the skin. Extended use of X-rays can trigger skin or other types of cancers in the areas exposed to x-rays.
- Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation: Ultraviolet radiation is classified into three types; A, B, and C. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays cause the maximum damage compared to the other two types. Some amount of sun exposure can be healthy as it stimulates the absorption of vitamin D in the body, but overexposure to sun rays and UV rays can cause skin cancer.
- Skin Color: Melanin is a chemical present in the skin that protects the skin against the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. People who lack melanin have a white complexion and are prone to develop skin cancer as their skin lacks the ability to fight the adverse effects of UV rays.
- Family History: Similar to some other types of cancers, skin cancer can also be hereditary, although less common than other cancers. People whose parents had squamous cell skin cancer are 2-3 times likely to develop skin cancer.
- Surgery: This is one of the simplest treatment options for skin cancer. In the case of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, surgical removal of the cancer lesion and surrounding healthy skin tissues is effective and offers promising life expectancy.
- Radiation Therapy: In advanced stages of skin cancer, wherein the lesion has spread in the inner layers of skin, radiation therapy offers an effective treatment of the condition. This option is good for people who are not advised of surgical treatment.
- Biological Therapy: This treatment technique directs the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells. In benign cancers, topical creams with anti-cancer agents can be used as an effective treatment.
Skin cancer is becoming common in people in America. Although no cause has been established that triggers cancer of the skin, the above-mentioned risk factors may be closely associated with the disease. Early detection plays a crucial role in the effective treatment of skin cancer and the above discussed are a few common skin cancer treatments. Skin treatments are complex and thus, combined efforts of an oncologist, dermatologist, and a cancer surgeon are required.