What is cancer
Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow and divide uncontrollably. There are more than 200 different types of cancer. Each type is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected. Cancer can start in the lungs, the breast, the colon, or even in the blood.
·Examine the skin. The doctor may look at the
skin to determine whether the skin changes are likely to be skin cancer.
Further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.
·Remove a sample of suspicious skin for testing
(skin biopsy). The doctor may remove the suspicious-looking skin for lab
testing. A biopsy can determine whether the patient has skin cancer and, if so,
what type of skin cancer he has.
If the doctor
determines that the patient has skin cancer, he may have additional tests to
determine the extent of the skin cancer.
superficial skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma rarely spread, a biopsy
which removes the entire growth often is the only test needed to determine the
cancer stage. But if the patient has a large squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel
cell carcinoma or melanoma, the doctor may recommend further tests to determine
the extent of the cancer.
tests might include imaging tests to examine the nearby lymph nodes for signs
of cancer or a procedure to remove a nearby lymph node and test it for signs of
cancer (sentinel lymph node biopsy). The skin cancer's stage helps determine
which treatment options will be most effective.
The main treatment for skin cancer issurgery. For
most people this will be all the treatment they need. Radiotherapycan also be used to treat and cure skin
cancers. The patient may have this instead of surgery if an operation is not
suitable for him. Radiotherapy can also be given after surgery to reduce the
chances of the cancer coming back. Another alternative to an operation for
basal cell skin cancer is treatment with a drug to make the skin sensitive to
light. This is followed by treatment with a bright light to the affected area.
This treatment is called photodynamic
therapy (PDT). Chemotherapyis only occasionally used for skin cancer.
Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers
can be successfully treated with surgery. In most cases the surgery is minor.
The affected area is completely removed, usually underlocal
anaesthetic. There are several different types of surgical
techniques that can be used. What is done will depend on