Skin cancer – Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

What is Skin cancer

What is Skin cancer?

Skin cancer melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer. It is called non – melanoma because this group of tumors includes all types of skin cancers except one: the melanoma malignant. It is cancer that develops from the melanocytes.

According to a study carried out by the World Health Organization, every year around 5,000 new diagnoses of skin cancer are made in Spain. Factors such as the deterioration of the ozone layer or the lack of daily prevention lead to the appearance of new cases.

Regarding the incidence in Spain, José Carlos Moreno, dermatologist, member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), clarifies that there are no reliable statistics in Spain. ”

What Causes of Skin cancer?

According to Moreno, genetic predisposition is the main cause of the appearance of skin cancer. Although there are other well-identified factors that also intervene, such as

  • ultraviolet radiation,
  • some chemical agents,
  • human papillomavirus infections,
  • immunosuppression. “

The most frequent causes are:

  • The exposure excessive to ultraviolet radiation (UV), whose primary source is sunlight. The degree of exposure to this radiation depends on the intensity of the light, the exposure time, and whether the skin has been protected.

People who live in areas where they are exposed to strong sunlight year-round are at increased risk of developing this type of cancer. Also, being outdoors for a long time for work or leisure without protecting yourself with suitable clothes and sun protection increases the possibility of developing it.

  • The lamps and tanning booths are other sources of ultraviolet radiation that may increase the risk of developing skin cancer non – melanoma.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals such as arsenic, industrial pitch, coal, paraffin, and certain types of oils.
  • The exposure to radiation, as produced by the radiation.
  • The skin overlying the area where a serious bone infection occurred, and skin damaged by certain inflammatory diseases.
  • A rare hereditary disease, xeroderma pigmentosum reduces the skin’s ability to repair DNA damage from exposure to sunlight. People with this disorder develop a large number of skin tumors, sometimes from childhood.
  • The syndrome nevus basal cell is a congenital condition rare, causing multiple basal cell malignancies (basaliomas). Most, but not all, cases are hereditary.

What are the Symptoms of Skin cancer?

Nonmelanoma skin cancer can look like various marks on the skin. The main warning signs are the appearance of a new mass, a spot or bump that is growing, or an ulcer that does not heal within three months.

“The symptoms of Skin cancer are highly variable. You can find from

  • progressive growth cysts,
  • ulcers that do not heal,
  • scars that grow,
  • horny excrescences,
  • moles that change shape, or
  • begin to present discomforts such as pain,
  • itching,
  • bleeding, .

The most common are:

  • The basal cell carcinomas appear on both flat, as the scaly area becomes reddish, or small waxy, glossy and translucent to the relief areas, which may bleed a minor injury. In these areas, it is common to identify one or more visible irregular blood vessels, or show areas of blue, brown, or black.
  • The squamous cell carcinoma may appear as growing lumps, often rough, flat surface, or reddened patches of skin that grow slowly. These two types of nonmelanoma skin cancer can develop on a flat surface that shows only slight changes from normal skin.
  • The Kaposi sarcoma usually begins in a small area like that acquires a purple color that becomes a tumor.
  • The mycosis fungoides begins as a rash, often on the buttocks, hips or bottom of the abdomen. It may look like a skin allergy or other type of skin irritation.
  • Adnexal tumors appear as bumps inside the skin.
  • The Skin sarcomas appear as large lumps under the surface thereof. Merkel cell tumors usually appear as red-purple nodules or ulcers (sores) located on the face, or, less frequently, on the arms or legs.

How to Prevent Skin cancer?

The most important way to reduce the risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer is to avoid exposing yourself unprotected to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light.

The easiest way to avoid excessive exposure to ultraviolet light is to stay out of the sun and shade whenever possible. This can be applied both in summer periods and the rest of the year. Since weather effects, such as cloudiness or snow, do not reduce the incidence of solar radiation completely.

This precaution must be taken from childhood. It has been shown that 80 percent of the damage. The sun can cause to the skin occurs before the age of 18.

Some recommendations to prevent the appearance of Skin cancer are:

Protect yourself with clothing

Wearing a shirt and a hat with a wide brim increases protection against solar radiation. Tightly woven fabrics generally offer better protection as well.

Specialists recommend covering the most sensitive areas that are exposed to sunlight. 85 percent of malignant tumors appear on the face and scalp.

Sun protection creams

Always use a protection cream of factor 15 or more on the skin areas exposed to the sun, particularly when the light is intense. Light-skinned and easily burned people should apply sunscreen lotion more frequently.

For protection to be effective, protection must be applied before sun exposure and on all visible skin areas. Many sunscreen lotions lose effectiveness when the person sweats or swims and must be reapplied to offer the highest level of protection.

Experts insist that the cream should be applied even if the day is foggy or the sky is covered with light or slightly compact clouds since ultraviolet light can pass through them.

Do not use tanning booths
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, as it contributes to skin aging. For this reason, dermatologists advise against its use.

Types of skin cancer

There are many types of nonmelanoma skin cancer. There are two that are the most common: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (basal cell cancer)

It is a slow-growing tumor. It is very rare for basal cell cancer to spread to distant parts of the body. However, if a basal cell cancer is left untreated it can spread to nearby areas and affect the bones as well as other skin tissues. After treatment, basal cell carcinoma may recur at the same location on the skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma)

Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the upper layers of the epidermis and accounts for about 20 percent of all cases of skin cancer. It often appears on areas of the body exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and back of the hands. It can also develop on scars or skin ulcers on other parts of the body.

Other types of non-melanoma skin cancer, less common than the above are:

Kaposi’s sarcoma

It originates from the dermis, but can also form in the internal organs. It usually develops in people affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


The dermis contains a considerable number of lymphocytes (a type of cell in the immune system). When these become malignant they form lymphoma.

Although most of these cancers appear to start in the lymph nodes or internal organs, certain types of lymphoma start in the skin. The medical term “primary cutaneous lymphoma” means “lymphoma that has started in the skin.” The most common type of primary cutaneous lymphoma is cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, also called mycosis fungoides.


The sarcomas develop from cells of the connective tissue, usually in tissues that are deep below the skin. Much less frequently, these can occur in the dermis and subcutaneous tissue of the skin.

Several types of sarcoma can develop on the skin including dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and angiosarcoma.

Merkel cell carcinoma

It develops from the endocrine cells of the skin. They often come back after treatment and spread to nearby lymph nodes. They can also spread to internal organs.

There are also benign skin tumors, most of which are not cancerous, and only rarely become cancer. These tumors include most types of moles, seborrheic keratoses (raised, brown, brown, or black spots with a “waxy” texture or rough surface), hemangiomas (benign tumors of the blood vessels), lipomas (benign adipose cell soft tumors) and warts (rough surface tumors caused by a virus).

Pre-cancerous diseases

Actinic keratosis

It is a precancerous condition of the skin caused by exposure to sunlight. They are small, rough spots that may be red, pink, or skin-colored. They usually develop on the face, ears, back of the hands and arms of people of middle age or older who have fair skin, although they can also appear on other areas of the skin exposed to the sun.

Most commonly, the person who has actinic keratosis will develop many more. They generally increase slowly and cause no more symptoms or signs than skin blemishes. It is possible, but not common, that actinic keratoses develop into squamous cell cancer. They also often disappear on their own, but may reappear.

Squamous cell carcinoma

It is the earliest form of squamous cell skin cancer. The cells of this cancer are completely within the epidermis and have not spread to the dermis. It manifests itself in the form of reddish spots. Compared with actinic keratoses, squamous cell carcinoma spots in situ are usually larger, often more than half a centimeter, more intense red, and are more scaly and rough.

How to Treat Skin Cancer?

Excision is the most common treatment for this type of injury, which can be completed with the so-called Mohs surgery depending on the location or if the stain is of considerable size.

The simple excision involves the removal of the tumor and some of the tissue around it.

Cryosurgery: Cancer cells are frozen and destroyed by liquid nitrogen.

Laser surgery: It is used in very superficial carcinomas on which the laser beam is applied to vaporize the cancer cells.

Electrodesiccation: The tumor is removed by scraping the tissue, and then the area where the stain was located is treated with an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: The most frequently used medicine is fluorouracil, which used topically reaches the cells closest to the surface of the skin, so it will be used only in premalignant pathologies. This medicine reddens the area where it is applied and makes it more sensitive to the sun, so the area should be well protected.

Radiotherapy: Consists of using radiation to destroy cancer cells. The treatment lasts a few minutes and is not painful.
It is used in those patients who cannot undergo surgery, such as the elderly. This treatment can cure those types of cancer that are in low stages. It can also be used as a complement to the surgery.