Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers that tend to affect millions of individuals worldwide. More prevalent in the West, this form of cancer is dominant in the Indian continent as well. However, it is a highly curable and treatable disease, especially when detected early. There are specific necessary steps that one needs to take to recognize and create awareness about cancer. By doing so, one can ensure they nurture the overall health of their skin in general.
What exactly is skin cancer:
When skin cells go through abnormal growth because of damage caused by UV radiation, mainly driven by the sun, it causes either one form of skin cancer. The most prevalent forms are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Sings to look out for:
New growth, new moles: If you notice new growth in excess skin or moles, it is best to get it checked and diagnosed. Most new moles proliferate, are multicoloured, and some even have irregular edges. This is not to be taken lightly and should be inspected.
Persistent wounds: Any wound that has not healed in time and is oozing with pus or bleeding needs to be examined. This could be an indication of skin cancer.
Check your texture: One of the most noticeable changes is the texture of the skin. If you ever come across abnormal texture in the form of scaly patches that are rough or bumpy, you should get it examined at the earliest.
Moles: If your moles change their size, shape, colour or even texture, it is essential to check it. Asymmetrical moles that are irregularly changes its size and are of a different colour are also warning signs to be mindful of.
What should you do?
It is important to self-examine and carefully monitor any changes your body or skin might be experiencing. It is essential to be mindful of the ABCDE rule- Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color changes, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolution or change over time.
It is also crucial to minimize your exposure to UV radiation by wearing sunscreen with SPF and covering yourself by wearing protective gear whenever stepping out in the sun.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the cancer stage, location, and type of cancer. There are different types of medicines which include the following: Surgery for slicing out the tumour, topical medication to apply on the skin, which is viable for a few skin cancers and immunotherapy for helping the body’s immune system that can fight cancer.
In India, skin cancer is not a concern due to our high melanin levels that act as a shield. However, the disease is a severe condition that needs immediate attention and care. For any form of cancer, it is essential to be aware of the early signs and not ignore any red flags. Early detection is key for any illness and for a long, healthy life.
By: Dr Naru Ramana Reddy, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, HCG MNR Cancer Centre, Ongole