Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening form of cancer that affects millions of people worldwide. Timely detection and treatment are paramount to improve the prognosis and increase the chances of a successful recovery. In this article, Dr Sheema Itrat will explore skin cancer, its various types, common risk factors, warning signs, diagnosis methods, preventive measures, and available treatment options.
Skin cancer arises due to the abnormal and rapid growth of skin cells. The most prevalent types of skin cancer include Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, be it from sunlight or artificial sources like tanning beds, is the leading cause of skin cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to certain chemicals, thermal burns, chronic skin diseases, and smoking. Fair-skinned individuals are more susceptible, as are those with a family history of skin cancer, a personal history of skin cancer or sunburns, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Early detection is critical in combating skin cancer. Keep an eye out for moles or lesions that deviate from the norm – what dermatologists sometimes refer to as an “ugly duckling” or “suspicious-looking” mole. New moles, changing moles or lesions in size, shape, or colour, crusty, ulcerated, or scaly surfaces, itching, oozing, or pain are all potential warning signs that necessitate prompt medical attention.
When seeking a diagnosis, medical professionals typically perform a skin examination and may conduct a biopsy, wherein a portion or the entire lesion is removed for further laboratory testing.
Prevention and Protection
To protect yourself from skin cancer, it’s essential to minimize exposure to UV light by wearing wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved clothing and seeking shade. Regularly applying broad-spectrum sunscreens, scheduling routine skin checks, and seeking medical advice if any moles or lesions display worrisome changes are also crucial preventive measures.
In addition to the mentioned risk factors, individuals with a history of severe sunburns, outdoor workers, and people who spend extended periods in the sun should be particularly vigilant about skin health.
Preventive Lifestyle Measures
Aside from protective measures like wearing sunscreen and seeking shade, adopting a healthy lifestyle can support skin health. Maintaining a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and selenium can help promote skin health and possibly reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Available Treatment Options
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type and extent of the cancer. Various options are available, including topical creams, cryotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The treatment choice is tailored to the individual’s condition and the cancer’s stage, aiming to remove or eliminate cancerous cells while preserving healthy tissue effectively.
Vigilance is critical when it comes to skin cancer, as early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. If any warning signs are noticed, regular self-examinations and prompt medical attention can make a substantial difference. Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing skin cancer by taking protective measures such as avoiding excessive UV exposure and wearing sunscreens. Remember, knowledge and proactive measures are our most potent weapons in the battle against skin cancer.
At IMC, we understand the importance of your skin health. If you have any moles or skin lesions that raise concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We offer comprehensive mole checks and are fully equipped to perform skin biopsies and mole removals at all our locations. Take the proactive step towards a healthier future – schedule your mole check with us today!
Dr Sheema Itrat
Dr Sheema has extensive experience in advanced healthcare systems across Australia, United Kindgom and Singapore, Dr Sheema brings a wealth of diverse knowledge to all fields of General Practice (Family Medicine). Her interests include chronic disease management, minor procedures, skin cancer, and women’s health, including Implanon and Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUD) insertions. Dr Sheema is based at our Katong Clinic.