Even though the skin is often not recognized as such, it is actually an organ and is the largest organ of your body. Because your skin is a bodily organ, you can see cancer develop on or in the layers of your dermis and epidermis. Skin cancer is scary because it is so easy to miss, as many people don't fully know what to look for or be alert to so they know when they should see a doctor. Here is a look at some of the most common questions about skin cancer and the answers you will want to know if you think you may be at risk.
What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
Skin cancer can develop in many different forms and along many different parts of the body. Most often, however, skin cancer will show up in areas where the skin has been exposed to direct sunlight the most. Therefore, tumorous skin cancer most often appears on places like the face, head, or neck. Some of the most common symptoms that can tell you if a spot should be checked out include:
- The spot burns or itches constantly
- The spot bleeds and does not seem to heal
- The spot looks a lot like a wart, is translucent in appearance, or resembles a scar
- The spot was once a mole, but has changed shape or feels different than usual
How will a dermatologist determine if a spot is cancerous?
Depending on what the doctor determines during their initial evaluation, you will likely be scheduled for a biopsy of the spot. A biopsy is a procedure in which small particles of a growth are harvested from the skin, and then those components are sent to a laboratory for further evaluation. A biopsy to evaluate for skin cancer may even be done the same day as your first appointment, especially if the growth protrudes from the skin and is easy to access.
What are the different ways skin cancer can be treated?
Skin cancer can be treated in many different ways because it is often outside of your body. Therefore, topical treatments may work, as well as basic removal of the cancerous spot, lesion, or mole. In severe cases in which the cancer has spread under the skin, the traditional treatment methods for cancer may be used, such as radiation therapy or even chemotherapy. The final plan of treatment will greatly rely on the location, severity, and size of the cancer.
Contact a cancer treatment center near you for more information and assistance.