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?
. 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