The most significant factors affecting the onset and development of skin cancer:
- excessively strong and prolonged sun exposure on the skin
- local exposure to chemical compounds with carcinogenic properties (arsenic, fuels and lubricants, tar);
- according to some reports, ionizing radiation can also be attributed to factors contributing to the development of skin cancer;
- such short skin lesions lead to scarring. The process of scarring of the skin can provoke the development of malignant processes.
The main manifestations of skin cancer depend on the specific type.
Basal cell carcinoma (basal cell carcinoma) accounts for more than half of all skin cancers. The tumor develops slowly, does not metastasize. Basaliomas can invade surrounding tissues, thereby destroying them. In 90% of cases, basal cell carcinoma is located on the face.
Squamous cell carcinoma is less common. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, the tumor can occur anywhere on the body, not just the face. Squamous cell carcinoma is prone to metastasis. In 6% of cases, metastases can affect the nearest lymph nodes. Also, in rare cases, the lungs and bones are affected. Adenocarcinoma from sweat or sebaceous glands is also possible, but even less common.
According to the stage of the disease, there are several standard treatments for skin cancer.
The following methods are used for treatment:
- laser coagulation.
- The choice of treatment method depends on the histological structure of the tumor, the stage of the disease, the clinical form and the location of the tumor.
Radiation therapy for skin cancer is effective at the stage of treating the primary tumor and local metastases. Radiation therapy in this case is effective for the reason that the structures of cells are damaged by radiation. This leads to the fact that the cells stop dividing and die.
Surgery is also used at the stage of treatment of the primary tumor and local metastases. This skin cancer treatment is used in the following cases:
- in case of relapse after radiation therapy
- if skin cancer has developed at the site of the scar
- in the event that the primary tumor is large enough in size, surgical treatment is used as an element of combined treatment
- Surgical treatment consists of excising the tumor. In the surgical treatment of facial skin cancer, the principles of plastic surgery are followed. If the tumor has metastasized to the lymph nodes, then an operation to remove them is indicated.
Local chemotherapy (0.5% omain, prospidin, 5-fluorouracil ointment) is indicated in the case of small tumors and relapses in basal cell carcinoma. In chemotherapy, drugs are used that prevent tissue proliferation or contribute to irreversible damage to tumor cells.
Laser destruction and cryotherapy
These methods are recommended for small tumors. When treating skin cancer near bones or cartilage, laser destruction and cryotherapy are preferred.
If basal cell carcinoma is localized in the area of the eyes or nose, then photodynamic therapy (PDT) gives positive results, since other methods of treatment can negatively affect the lens of the eye and nasal cartilage. Surgical treatment of basal cell carcinoma in this area is difficult due to the complexity of subsequent plasty.
The basic principle of photodynamic therapy is that a photosensitive substance (photosensitizer) is administered to the patient, and after a while (up to 3 days), it is irradiated with light of a certain length. Under the influence of the processes caused by the reaction of radiation to the introduced substance, diseased cells are destroyed. An important advantage of PDT is that healthy cells are not negatively affected. Photodynamic therapy can be repeated many times in case of relapses without side effects on the body.