Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer

Disease Process

Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the outer layers of the skin. There are several types of cancer that start in the skin. (Friedman, pp45-51) The most common are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. These types of skin cancer are called non-melanoma skin cancer. Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common in places that have been exposed to more sunlight, such as your face, neck, hands, and arms. Skin cancer can look many different ways. The most common sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, such as a growth or a sore that won't heal. Sometimes there may be a small lump. This lump can be smooth, shiny and waxy looking, or it can be red or reddish brown. Skin cancer may also appear as a flat red spot that is rough or scaly. Like most cancers, skin cancer is best treated when it is found early.

Traditional Treatments For This Disease

The chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the type of skin cancer and how far it has spread. Once skin cancer is found, many tests may be done to see if the cancer has spread. There are treatments for all patients with skin cancer. Three kinds of treatments are used: surgery (taking out the cancer) chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells) radiation therapy (using x-rays to kill cancer cells). (Michael, p 67)Biological therapy (using your body's immune system to fight cancer) is being tested in clinical trials. Many skin cancers are treated by doctors who treat skin diseases (dermatologists). Surgery is the most common treatment for skin cancer.

The doctor may remove the cancer using one of the following: Electro-desiccation and curettage burns the lesion ...
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