Monday, June 25, 2007

Skin Cancer

Do you have any spot dark in your skin? Please pay attention to evaluate and to look that the spot dark in your skin is massive growth , before anything happen to you because many people they don't know if the spot dark in their skin is early of skin cancer which called MELANOMA.

What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is a malignant growth on the skin which can have many causes. Skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, so a tumor is usually clearly visible. This makes most skin cancers detectable in the early stages.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, MELANOMA, is more dangerous but less common.

What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin cells called melanocytes (cells that color the skin). Melanocytes are found throughout the lower part of the epidermis. They make melanin, the pigment that gives skin its natural color. When skin is exposed to the sun, melanocytes make more pigment, causing the skin to tan, or darken.
Risk factors for melanoma include the following:
  • Unusual moles.
  • Exposure to natural sunlight.
  • Exposure to artificial ultraviolet light (tanning booth).
  • Family or personal history of melanoma.
  • Being white and older than 20 years.
  • Red or blond hair.
  • White or light-colored skin and freckles.
  • Blue eyes.
The following stages are used for melanoma:
Stage 0
In stage 0, melanoma is found only in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). Stage 0 is also called melanoma in situ.

Stage I
Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB.
  • Stage IA: In stage IA, the tumor is not more than 1 millimeter thick, with no ulceration. The tumor is in the epidermis and upper layer of the dermis.
  • Stage IB: In stage IB, the tumor is either:
    o not more than 1 millimeter thick, with ulceration, and may have spread into the dermis or the tissues below the skin; or
    o 1 to 2 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.
Stage II
Stage II is divided into stages IIA, IIB, and IIC.
  • Stage IIA: In stage IIA, the tumor is either:
    o 1 to 2 millimeters thick, with ulceration; or
    o 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.

  • Stage IIB: In stage IIB, the tumor is either:
    o 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration; or
    o more than 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.

  • Stage IIC: In stage IIC, the tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration.
Stage III
In stage III, the tumor may be any thickness, with or without ulceration, and:
  • has spread to 1 or more lymph nodes; or
  • has spread into the nearby lymph system but not into nearby lymph nodes; or
  • has spread to lymph nodes that are matted (not moveable); or
  • satellite tumors (additional tumor growths within 2 centimeters of the original tumor) are present and nearby lymph nodes are involved.
Stage IV
In stage IV, the tumor may be any thickness, with or without ulceration, may have spread to 1 or more nearby lymph nodes, and has spread to other places in the body.

How to reduce from Skin Cancer?
The following steps have been recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation to help reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Minimize your exposure to the sun at midday and between the hours of 10:00AM and 3:00PM.
  • Apply sunscreen with at least a SPF (Sun Protection Factor)-15 or higher, to all areas of the body which are exposed to the sun. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear clothing that covers your body and shades your face. (Hats should provide shade for both the face and back of the neck.)
  • Avoid exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps or tanning parlors. Protect your children. Keep them from excessive sun exposure when the sun is strongest (10:00AM and 3:00PM), and apply sunscreen liberally and frequently to children 6 months of age and older. Do not use sunscreen on children under 6 months of age. Parents with children under 6 months of age should severely limit their children's sun exposure.
Four types of standard treatment are used:
  1. Surgery

  2. Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment of all stages of melanoma. The doctor may remove the tumor using the following operations:

    • Local excision: Taking out the melanoma and some of the normal tissue around it.
    • Wide local excision with or without removal of lymph nodes.
    • Lymphadenectomy: A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer.
    • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: The removal of the sentinel lymph node (the first lymph node the cancer is likely to spread to from the tumor) during surgery. A radioactive substance and/or blue dye is injected near the tumor. The substance or dye flows through the lymph ducts to the lymph nodes. The first lymph node to receive the substance or dye is removed for biopsy. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are not found, it may not be necessary to remove more lymph nodes.

    Skin grafting (taking skin from another part of the body to replace the skin that is removed) may be done to cover the wound caused by surgery.

    Even if the doctor removes all the melanoma that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be offered chemotherapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Chemotherapy given after surgery, to increase the chances of a cure, is called adjuvant therapy.

  3. Chemotherapy

  4. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy).

    In treating melanoma, anticancer drugs may be given as a hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion. This technique sends anticancer drugs directly to the arm or leg in which the cancer is located. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and a warm solution containing anticancer drugs is put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the patient to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred.

    The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

  5. Radiation therapy

  6. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

  7. Biologic therapy

  8. Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.

    New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials. These include the following:

  9. Chemoimmunotherapy

  10. Chemoimmunotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs combined with biologic therapy to boost the immune system to kill cancer cells.
Keep your skin away from Skin Cancer, do the right way, how to avoid skin cancer.

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