There are three major types of skin cancer, and they affect different layers of the skin. They are named for the different types of skin cells that become cancerous.
The first step in treating skin cancer is usually removing the abnormal cells. This is typically an outpatient procedure. In some procedures, the surrounding skin, or margins will be removed as well to try to ensure that any extended strands of abnormal cells are also removed. There is a surgery technique called Mohs, where the abnormal growth is removed gradually and the excisions are each reviewed under a microscope to evaluate the appearance of abnormal cells. This procedure tends to take longer due to the close inspection of each cut, but is very effective at removing the growth without taking away healthy skin cells. Some forms of skin cancer respond to radiation or cryotherapy, where the cells are frozen and removed. There are also some topical medications and chemotherapies designed for skin cancer. If a patient is concerned about a strange mole or growth on their skin, he or she should definitely as their doctor to look at it for further advice.
Skin cells die and are replaced every day. Skin cancer occurs when this regeneration does not work properly. Most skin cancer is caused by exposure to and damage from the sun. It could be long term exposure or an intense burn. The ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB, and UVC) in sunlight penetrate the skin, causing it to age and for abnormal cells to develop. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and are the main cause of melanoma. People with fair skin and light hair and eyes are at a higher risk because the have less melanin which helps to protect them from the UV rays. People who have a family history of skin cancer or who have had it before are more likely to have abnormal growths again.
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