How to Recognize Different Types of Skin Cancers

By | March 3, 2018

Cutaneous tumors are more frequent than those of lung, breast, prostate and colon combined and overall in 2016 they recorded in Italy almost 180mila new cases. According to the most recent statistics, one in five people will develop in life a basal (the form of cancer of the skin more frequent and less aggressive) and the numbers are constantly increasing. But the good news is that if discovered in the early stages, from these diseases you can heal. “Each of us can do a lot to” Save our Skin “-stresses Piergiacomo Calzavara Pinton, president of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Venereology (SIDeMaST), whose annual congress will be held in Sorrento from May 3 to 6. Three moves are enough: it is essential to observe your skin carefully, do not linger too much to consult your doctor if you notice something abnormal and expose yourself to the sun carefully to avoid scalding.

Cell or basal carcinoma

It is the most frequent skin cancer and every year according to estimates (there are no registers with precise data as for other types of cancer) affects more or less Italian 980mila. It is mainly due to excessive exposure to sun rays and sunburn that, over the years, cause DNA damage that can evolve in the formation of a tumur-explains Calzavara Pinton, who is also the director responsible for the dermatology department of the ” Civil Spedali “of Brescia-. It is considered the least aggressive of skin tumors because it rarely gives metastases, but in reality tends to infiltrate locally and, especially when localized to the face, can even lead to the loss of organs (such as eyes, nose, ears). It is very rarely lethal and in the initial cases only the surgical excision is enough to eliminate it, even if in some variants it can reoccur and demand more and more extensive excisions (as in the case of the Australian actor Hugh Jackman). Other frequently affected areas are those most exposed to ultraviolet radiation (chest, back, arms or legs).

Basal, how to recognize it

Basaliomi are generally described as Rosaceae papules, small pink patches, whitish scars, small, slightly translucent, browny lumps, or as lesions that do not heal, bleed or appear inflamed.

If the diagnosis is timely, the cure may consist of simple surgical removal in local anesthesia or photodynamic therapy, which combines a special gel with a laser that “burns” the malignant cells. Or, in selected cases (to avoid scarring of the face, but in patients with low risk of recurrence), there is now a lotion to be applied on the lesion. « For Basaliomi wider than 2 centimeters-continuous Calzavara Pinton-for those that reoccur or are localized on the scalp, face and neck, Mohs surgery may be the most suitable solution: that is to remove the lesion and, during the surgery, a Part is sent to the pathologist to analyze it and tell the surgeon where to expand the excision based on the presence of cancerous cells not visible to the naked eye in the surrounding skin or in depth». Alternatively, for larger lesions that cannot be removed surgically, there are today some very effective pill medications or electro-chemotherapy, which allows to destroy cancer cells with limited aesthetic damage.

Skin squamous cell carcinoma or spinalioma

Also known as scaly-cell carcinoma, it is the second most common form of skin cancer and every year according to estimates (there are no registers with precise data as for other types of cancer) affects more or less 140mila Italian. It can develop anywhere, but the most affected areas are scalp, ears, lips and hands. Also in this case, excessive exposure and without sufficient protection to ultraviolet rays, with the relative burns, is the main risk factor (especially for people of light complexion). The Spinalioma can be more aggressive than the basal and in more advanced cases, when not treated promptly, it can metastasize.

Spinalioma, how to recognize it

Small pink or red patches, a lumpy growth, a hard flesh-colored sketch in the middle, and especially any lesion that bleeds or ulcers without curing: these are the most frequent ways in which a spinalioma occurs. Moreover, it must be remembered that the Keratosis actinic (undangerous, but very frequent pre-cancerous lesions: one third of the people over 50 has at least one) can evolve in this form of cancer more invasive.

Spinalioma, how to cure it

If the Spinaliomi are detected in the early stages, once again, surgical removal may be sufficient in local anesthesia or therapy with a chemotherapy cream. Instead, for the larger lesions (over 2 centimeters), relapse, or in more visible areas, Mohs surgery offers the most chances of healing.

Melanoma

It is the most aggressive of skin tumours and, if recognized late, can be lethal. It is not the most common, but its incidence is constantly increasing (especially among young adults), so that in Italy in the last decade we have moved from thousand to 14mila new annual cases and this has become the third most common type of cancer under 50 years. Once again the risk factors are largely linked to an “incorrect” attitude towards ultraviolet radiation: excessive exposure without sunscreen, repeated burns during childhood, frequent use of lamps Tanners or sun beds raise the risk of getting sick. It is more likely to develop it than a previous melanoma or to have a familial who had this tumor and the presence of many in the (more than 100), of which some atypical, i.e. diameter of more than 5 millimetres and irregular form. If recognized early, can be treated successfully even with only surgery and heal, but if neglected can spread, even quickly, to other organs and tissues.
Melanoma, how to recognize it

More frequent on the legs and on the trunk, it rarely affects even areas less exposed to the sun. The main signal of cutaneous melanoma is a neo different from all the others (the so-called “ugly Duckling”) or the change in appearance or the appearance of a new mole with the following characteristics, indicated by the acronym ABCDE:

  • A as asymmetry in form. A benign nevus is generally circular or rounded, a melanoma is more irregular. It can be flat or embossed.
  • B as irregular and indistinct edges.
  • C as variable color: can be brown, black, reddish and change over time
  • D as dimensions: they are to be looked at with suspicion in the diameter above 5-6 mm.
  • E as the evolution of the Neo that, in a rather short time, tends to grow, to widen.

Melanoma, how to cure it

«As for the therapies for melanoma-concludes Calzavara Pinton-, with a diagnosis in the early stages may be sufficient to remove the cancerous lesion. It is essential that the diagnosis is made not only with a “naked eye” visit, but with manual or digital dermatoscopy. If you arrive late, the chances of healing diminish and you need a drug therapy. Today we have different types of immunoterapici (the aim of which is not to destroy cancer cells, as do chemotherapy or to molecular target drugs, but to reactivate the body’s immune system against tumors), which allow To obtain good results even with metastatic disease. ‘

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