The terrible word “cancer” is familiar even to people who are far from medicine. It is considered that this term is synonymous with imminent death, because everyone hears the tragic stories from the lives of celebrities or acquaintances who were diagnosed with such a diagnosis. Oncological experts do not tire of repeating: cancer can be defeated if it is detected at an early stage and qualified medical care is sought. In other words, the enemy needs to know in person and not afraid to learn about his strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, let’s talk about one of the most common types of malignant tumors in Russia – skin cancer.
Skin cancer – what is the prognosis?
This type of cancer is in third place in the frequency of detection in Russian men (after lung cancer and prostate cancer) and in second place (after breast cancer) – in women. On average, the disease occurs in 1 out of 4000 people, but in the southern regions of our country, where sun radiation is more intense, this indicator is much higher. Especially susceptible to skin cancer are people of the “northern type” (with blond skin and hair) who have moved to live in warm areas or were born into a family of immigrants. In addition, doctors noticed that tumors of this group are found much more often in patients who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Since skin cancer is common in many countries of the world (including Australia, Brazil, the U.S. and Switzerland), medical specialists pay special attention to the development and implementation of new methods of diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Besides traditional methods of tumor control – surgical operations, radiation therapy and chemotherapy – scientists are looking for more effective and less dangerous ways to defeat cancer. More and more publications are being published on virotherapy (cancer treatment with viruses) and immunotherapy (the use of vaccines with tumor fragments that stimulate the body’s defenses).
Causes of skin cancer
The appearance of any malignant neoplasm is a consequence of a malfunction of the body: normally, the immune system destroys defective cells before they begin to divide uncontrolled. If for some reason the protective mechanisms do not work, the tumor increases in size and becomes invulnerable to biologically active substances and killer cells. In case of skin cancer, the most dangerous environmental factors that increase the probability of tumor development are ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, as well as exposure to aggressive chemicals. Therefore, such malignant tumors are often detected in people who have had contact with radiation or have worked in the chemical industry. Experts note that skin cancer is often provoked by visiting a tanning bed: the fashion for bronze tanning has led to a significant increase in the incidence of malignant tumors in women (in the U.S. for this reason, more than 170 thousand new cancer cases are detected annually).
Symptoms and signs of skin cancer
Any type of malignant tumors first manifests locally – in the place of lesion, and then, in the absence of treatment, affects the patient’s health in general. In the case of skin cancer, the relationship between local and general symptoms – in favor of the local: until late stages of the disease, people around may not suspect that the person is sick. Local symptoms of skin cancer are visible to the naked eye: it may be a cancer that does not heal for several weeks, a stain that gradually grows in size, or a mole that has changed shape or color. Depending on the type of tumor, the growth of the neoplasm can be slow or rapid, but in any case, the change in the skin is progressive. In the affected area is often observed redness, itching, pain, bleeding or peeling. It is important to know that skin cancer can develop, including on the mucous membranes – in the mouth or nasal cavity, as well as under the hair on the head. The general symptoms are the same for all types of cancer: reduced appetite, chronic fatigue, weight loss, periodic episodes of unreasonable temperature rise to subfebrilic values (about 37.5 ° C). Such complaints should alert not only the patient, but also his family – to postpone a visit to the doctor in such cases is strongly discouraged.