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Skin Cancer

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Introduction

Modern medical knowledge recognizes several diseases that pose a serious threat to health. In this context, skin cancer is one of the most severe forms of cancer with its frequent occurrence. It has negative consequences and may often trigger fatal outcomes. To prevent the negative impact of the disease, it is important to discuss its forms, diagnoses, and treatment options, while addressing several measurements and recommendations.

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Forms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the main topic being analyzed in different surveys that are targeted to explain various aspects of this disease. The term is utilized to describe the different forms of the illness. Researchers define such types of this disease like melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma (Das, Deshmukh, Badore, Ghulaze, & Patel, 2016). Basal cell carcinoma is characterized by the development of cancer cells that closely resemble the epidermis (Das et al., 2016). Squamous cell carcinoma is a disease that progresses in squamous cells near the surface of the skin, the digestive and respiratory tracts, or the lining of hollow organs of the body (Das et al., 2016). The structure of these units may be compared to fish scales when they are examined under a microscope (Das et al., 2016). Melanoma is another form that is described as a malignant tumor of melanocytes... being responsible for the production of the dark pigment melanin (Das et al., 2016). This form of skin cancer is considered to be the most lethal one because of to its ability to metastasize (Das et al., 2016). There are less than 2% of individuals with melanoma. However, this type of cancer is associated with fatal outcomes. Thus, many studies focus on this type in an effort to decrease its adverse consequences.

The incidence of skin cancer is on the rise. According to Chen et al. (2016), more than 74,000 cases of melanoma were reported in 2015. It is also stressed that there has been an increase in melanoma-related deaths by approximately 10% in men and a decrease of the same type in women by 9.6% over the last 5 years (Chen et al., 2016). The American Association for Cancer Research states that males are more predisposed to developing melanoma and have thicker tumors, as well as more cases of progression and metastasis than females (Chen et al., 2016). Studies also indicate that it recurs in 6% of people after 10 years and in 11% of patients after 25 years (Chen et al., 2016). These recurrences may also have lethal outcomes.

It should be noted that nonmelanoma skin cancer forms are more common phenomena than the melanoma form. According to the statistical data, 74% of individuals with skin cancer suffer from basal cell carcinoma, and 23% of patients develop squamous cell carcinoma (Angus, 2017). Nonmelanoma skin cancer also includes such less common tumors as Merkel cell carcinomas and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (Angus, 2017). Awareness of these rare forms allows physicians diagnosing and managing cancer. Healthcare services are concerned with high rates of nonmelanoma skin cancer and focus on establishing its causes and preventive measures.

Skin Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

There is a variety of aspects that contribute to the development of the disease. The most common cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV light (Angus, 2017). This risk increases with the age. For example, when children are exposed to UV, they grow up more predisposed to this disease. Additionally, people with fair skin, blue eyes, and red hair are in a risk group (Angus, 2017). Some sources also include immunosuppressed individuals into the separate fraction as well as the patients with chronic haematological malignancies (Angus, 2017). In some cases, risk factors differ depending of the form of skin cancer.

Studies emphasize that more aspects should be considered in relation to melanoma. In addition to the factors mentioned above, this type of cancer may develop if people have green eyes, abnormal moles, blistering sunburns, and dysplastic nevi (Chen et al., 2016). Moreover, inhabitants of the countries that are located closer to the equator are at a higher risk (Chen et al., 2016). In fact, there is a model that may be employed to assess risk aspects. According to Chen et al. (2016), actinic keratosis is regarded to be one of the main indicators that may indicate melanoma. Apart from red and blond hair, people with a family history of this cancer type, freckles, childhood sunburns, and years of outdoor occupation may develop this disease (Chen et al., 2016). One or two indicators suggest that the illness may occur. Thus, it is important to consult with a doctor who can diagnose the disease on time.

Skin Cancer Diagnoses

For melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, the new growth on the skin is a major sign that may indicate the disease. As a matter of fact, any changes in the appearance of the skin should be diagnosed with additional tools. Thus, the examination is a main mechanism of diagnosis. In this context, self-analysis is encouraged. Individuals should be aware, for example, of molls on the body. It is important to measure their sizes and compare the results every month if a moll grows. What is more, it is crucial to consider other aspects such as the location. It is worth mentioning that in the case of nonmelanoma cancer, tumors are often located near bone, muscle or cartilage (Angus, 2017). Moreover, it is necessary to examine the borders of the mole. The study shows that more than 80% of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma cases happen within the body parts being most exposed to the sun (Angus, 2017). Thus, attention should be paid to the face, neck, hands, forearms, and ears.

Physicians apply professional tools to diagnose a patient. For example, dermoscopy may be used (Angus, 2017). It is often combined with a biopsy to exclude misinterpretation of the disorder. If cancer cells are discovered, additional information such as thickness of tumor and the area of its spreading may be important for establishing possible treatment measures. Tests are conducted to determine a stage of cancer. These methods of assessment include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and blood samples (Das et al., 2016). The role of early diagnoses is important as it helps to prevent adverse consequences, for instance, the destruction of anatomical structures by tumors.

Skin Cancer Treatment and Prevention

There is a set of treatment options that are used to cope with skin cancer. One of the main courses of action is surgical intervention as it gives the highest chance of treating cancer (Das et al., 2016). Other measures involve Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), electrodesiccation, cryosurgery, radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and local treatment (for instance, imiquimod) (Angus, 2017). It should be noted that radiotherapy is mostly used in the cases of melanoma because it prevents cancer cells from spreading (Das et al., 2016). Considering the fact that this cancer type is often lethal, drugs are prescribed. There are such synthetic drugs as flourouracil, interferon, carmustine, and dacarbazine (Das et al., 2016). Dacarbazine is also applied to handle the symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma as well as basal cell carcinoma among other types of cancer (Das et al., 2016). In some cases, a complex approach is used.

Considering the fact that skin cancer develops under the influence of UV, skin protection is a main preventive mechanism. Additionally, it is advisable using sunscreens, protective clothing, and avoiding long exposure to the sun (Chen et al., 2016). Thus, melanoma may be prevented by decreasing the incidence of sunburns (Chen et al., 2016). Self-assessment is also one of the preventive routines because early detection of skin cancer can help cope with its symptoms and cure the disease. Self-examination is required to be done monthly. This procedure is simple and may be used in accordance with the ABCD method that focuses on such aspects as asymmetry, borders, color, and diameter. Thus, it is important to establish whether a mole is asymmetrical, and if its borders are irregular. If the color is uneven and contains some shades of brown, red, blue, gray or white, in addition to its diameter that changes size, there is a need to consult with a doctor (Saxon, Etten, & Perkins, 2015). Thus, such a procedure may aid in preventing the further spread of cancer.

Another method of prevention is patient education. Scholars point out that the United States does not have national recommendations regarding skin cancer screening (Chen et al., 2016). Various screening for skin cancer programs is implemented in countries around the world, for example, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, and others (Chen et al., 2016). As a result, Germany has managed to decrease melanoma occurrences and death rates by 40 % (Chen et al., 2016). Thus, it is a good practice to develop and apply skin cancer educational and screening programs that are supported by the government.

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Conclusion

Skin cancer is a global medical concern. Among different forms of the disease, melanoma is less common but may often lead to a high mortality level. It should be noted that it differentiates between genders and is more often diagnosed in men. The three main types have a common cause that is exposure to UV light. Thus, the most preventive methods focus on protecting a body from the influence of UV. Additionally, self-examination is recommended. Skin cancer can be treated using different approaches, such as drugs, surgical intervention, MMS, electrodesiccation, cryosurgery, radiotherapy, PDT, and local treatment. Considering the high rates of its incidence, it is recommended to design and implement national recommendations and improve the patients' education.

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