How skin cancer developed? | What are the skin signs and symptoms and those with higher risk? The 7th most common cancer in both males & females in Singapore

normally the cells of the skin divide in an orderly manner, allowing the body to grow and to heal after an injury. Sometimes for some reasons, some cells grow in an abnormal way and may grow into a lump called tumor which may be benign or malignant. A malignant tumor is made of cancer cells, and if not treated, may spread into other areas. Sometimes these cancer cells break away from the original cancer and spread to other organs to form another cancer.

 Q: What causes skin cancer?

Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Common skin cancer seems to be related to a slow build up of the effects of sunlight over many years. And recent report over using the sun tanning bed may have the higher risk too.

Q: What are the signs of skin cancer?
Skin cancer takes a variety of forms. It is seldom painful and may not be ugly. If there is any unusual spot on the skin which does not go away within a couple of weeks, medical attention is necessary.

Q: Who are at a risk of getting skin cancer?

These include:
. fair skinned people who do not tan but go red in the sun
. people with red hair & blue eyes
. people with freckles or have many moles
. those who have been exposed to the sun during childhood, &
. those with family history of skin cancer

The risk may also increase if one is on certain drugs, or under UV therapy, or exposed to certain industrial chemicals.

Q: What are the tests available for screening skin cancer?

Usually this involves a biopsy under local anesthesia, or even removal of the entire spot. Further tests such as x-rays, blood tests & scans may also be done.

Q: How is skin cancer treated?

The treatment method will depend on age, general health, the type and size of the cancer, site on the body, personal preference and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

For a large cancer, a skin graft may be necessary. This involves using a layer of the skin from another part of the body. If the cancer is very small and not deep, it may be removed by freezing it.

When one is medically unfit for surgery or where surgery might be difficult or disfiguring, radiotherapy may be used. In the case of chemotherapy, the drugs may come in the form of a cream or liquid to be applied directly to the tumor, or as a tablet.


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