Los Angeles skin cancer patients may want to be familiar with general information about their condition as well as treatment options.
Skin cancer is caused by DNA changes. These changes are most often due to harmful UV rays. However they can also be caused by:
- Family genetics
- Poor immune system functioning
- Chemical exposure (e.g. oil, tar and arsenic)
This altered genetic code will produce abnormal cells that will continue to reproduce and possibly spread to other parts of the body.
Who is Most At Risk – Information for Los Angeles Skin Cancer Patients
Individuals who have fair skin and prone to developing freckles and sunburns have the highest risk of developing skin cancer.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Because skin cancer lesions are visible, they are the easiest to address during their early phases.
Individuals can easily prevent common types of skin cancer by protecting their skin from excessive sun exposure. This includes practices such as:
- Wearing sunscreen regularly
- Avoiding peak hours when the sun is particularly intense
Wearing protective clothing
Los Angeles Skin Cancer- Different Types
Skin cancer can be classified by the type of cells that have been affected. Basically there are three types of lesions:
1) Squamous cell carcinomas
Squamous cell carcinomas resemble thick patches of skin which are raised from the surface. Bleeding or ulcerations are possible. These cells typically multiply in a localized area.
2) Basal cell carcinomas
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common form of skin cancer. These lesions appear as round, reddish bumps that are prone to bleeding. Instead of spreading, these cells will remain in one spot.
Melanoma develops from melanocytes. These are the cells which produce melanin. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. These cells will divide aggressively and spread to other parts of the body.
The Warning Signs of Melanoma
Los Angeles skin cancer patients or even individuals with moles should know how to recognize the early manifestations of melanoma.
Melanoma often starts off with an appearance that looks like a common mole. However, there are a few signs to be wary of. These can be represented through the letters, A-B-C-D-E
A for Asymmetry
Benign moles have a round, symmetrical shape. With asymmetrical moles, one side looks different from the other.
B for Border
Malignant moles will often have indistinct borders that appear fuzzy or scalloped.
C For Color
Moles that have multiple colors should be noted and discussed with a physician
D for Diameter
Moles that are 6mm or larger are also suspicious warning signs.
E for Evolution
Changes in the way the mole appears on a monthly basis should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.
Los Angeles Skin Cancer – Patient Information About Actinic Keratosis
Actinic Keratosis is a type of skin growth which is precancerous. These lesions develop from cells known as keratinocytes which make up 90% of the skin’s outer surface
Actinic Keratosis appears as rough, reddish/brown patches of varying sizes. Some lesions may be flesh toned.
This condition can be addressed with laser treatment that will destroy these abnormal cells.
Los Angeles Skin Cancer Treatment
Treatment options for skin cancer include the following types of procedures:
1) Surgical excision. Surgical tools can be used to remove cancerous lesions
2) Cryotherapy. Liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze tissue growths so that they fall off
3) Curretage and Electrodessication. A spoon like surgical tool called a curette is used to scoop the cancer cells. An electric current is then used to kill remaining cells and to close off blood vessels to stop the bleeding that results
4) Drugs. Common skin cancer drugs include (5-FU Fluorouracil) which will slow or even stop cancer cells from growing. It is a topical medication that can be used for localized lesions. Therefore, it is not recommended for melanoma.
Aldara is another topical drug that works to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight non melanoma cancer cells.
Los Angeles skin cancer patients will find it immensely beneficial to continuously educate themselves on their condition and treatment options. This process not only involves reading, but also asking the right questions as well.