20 May

May 20, 2010

What cases skin cancer? According to the experts, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause and energy from the sun is a form of radiation. In some cases, however, it is hereditary. Healthy Living tonight discusses the early signs of skin cancer and the best methods of prevention. There are three types of skin cancer; the good news is that they are treatable.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that is preventable. In comparison to other forms of cancer it is easily visible and the majority of skin cancers are treatable if they are detected early. Skin cancer causes disfigurement, pain and in severe cases death. The three types of skin cancers are: basal cell carcinoma which is the most common, squamous cell carcinoma which is the most invasive and melanoma considered the worst of the three as it spreads fastest and can lead to death. Dermatologist, Dr. Ines Moguel helps us to distinguish the three types.

Dr. Ines Mendez Moguel, Dermatologist

“Now if you look at the frequency of the malignancy basal cell carcinoma is the most frequent one, now with basal cell carcinoma it is a skin cancer that grows really slow so most of the times we would see adults with these lesions and there are different types of presentation. So the way the lesion will look can vary from a small little flaky area that doesn’t heal or the patient will have like a flaky area on the nose or on the ears and as soon as the flakes are removed two or three days later they flakes again or like little sore that the oozing that doesn’t end as well. Also it can look like a small pearly area and one characteristic is that most of the time we will have small veins on the area, we call it spider veins so those are the signs.”This type of cancer grows very slowly which means that it is less likely to affect other areas of the body and once caught early can be treated. The squamous cell carcinoma is less common but spreads much faster. It may spread to areas like the chest, lungs, breasts or liver. This type is also treatable if detected early

.Dr. Ines Mendez Moguel

“This one have the potential to spread faster to other tissue so you may have lesion on your nose or on your cheek and if you don’t treat it on time then it can spread or give way to metastasis or secondary lesions further down. With melanoma the problem arise on the time the patient come to seek help. Even though melanoma is the highest mortality rate worldwide, but if you get it on time the survival rate is good. Of course melanoma is common in people with really, really fair skin but it doesn’t mean that tan people cannot get it. So the most important thing is what we call the ABC of the melanoma but also has to do with moles.”The little growth on our skins that we call moles are very common . They may grow alone or in tiny groups. They normally present themselves right after birth and new moles rarely appear in adulthood. Monitoring moles is an important part of detecting skin cancer as they may potentially mutate and become a type of skin cancer. Here is your guide to detecting abnormal moles. Think A-B-C.

Dr. Ines Mendez Moguel

A goes by Asymmetry which means if you draw a line down the middle of the mole one half should be the exact as the other half. So when you have a mole that is not symmetrical then it’s something that should be of concern.  B goes for the border. Normal moles should be totally round with a clear border. So when the border looks like a fry egg meaning it’s a little bit ragged. It’s a something that is not good. C goes by the colour so one mole should be an even color which is usually light brown. However, when we have more than one color within the mole or you have more than one for example black, green and red, it’s not a good sign. Those moles should be checked right away.  Then we go to D goes by the diameter, the size of the mole. Normal moles should not go beyond point five millimetres. That is the size of a pencil eraser. So it’s very simple you take a pencil eraser on the mole and anything that goes beyond that needs to be checked. Then the E goes by the elevation meaning how raised the mole become but also for enlargement so if a mole is growing and its growing fast it should also be of concern.”But the prognosis of either type of skin cancer is not a death sentence, even melanoma, if caught early can be treated.

Dr. Ines Mendez Moguel

“We’re happy to say that 90% of all the skin cancer that we see are easily treatable most of them we can diagnose them clinically and treat them with cryotherapy some of them may need surgical intervention and also we need medication we can use to treat skin cancer. We can say that more than 80% of the skin cancers are sun induced meaning that skin cancer is preventable so there are more many studies that show that the more sun you get exposed to the higher the probability for you to get skin cancer. "This why it is advised to avoid severe sunburn; wear sunglasses and hats when in the sun and long  sleeves outdoors for any prolonged exposure. And the number one advice from the dermatologist for prevention: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

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