Home / Treatment / Stages, symptoms, signs and treatment of skin cancer

Stages, symptoms, signs and treatment of skin cancer

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a disease that receives its development of the stratified squamous epithelium, which is a malignant tumor. It most often appears on exposed skin, rather the appearance of tumor on face most susceptible to nose and forehead, and the corners of his eyes and ears. The body of such education "not like" and there are formed very rarely, on the trunk, arms and legs tumors are not often in 10% of cases. It is worth noting that the disease does not appear before her mandatory precedes some skin changes.

It is customary to distinguish basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell cancer, that is melanoma or spinalioma, adenocarcinoma, and these forms of the disease, which develop from skin appendages. At risk is any person, but, nevertheless, the disease most often affects older people over 60 years old who have light skin and a large amount of time in the sun. This is a fairly common pathology and if we proceed from the statistics, it ranks third among all types of cancer.

The content of the article:

Signs and symptoms of skin cancer

In the diagnosis of skin cancer it is accepted to distinguish the following characteristic criteria, which focus on the doctors:

  • If the formation has a characteristic asymmetric shape, that is, when possible , the tumor is separated in half, both halves are different in size and structure.

  • Most often suspected pathology gives this feature, as the blurring of boundaries. If normal moles have a smooth border line, cancers are often discontinuous, "jagged".
  • The color of the affected area is different from the usual colour, and is not typical of the usual formations. Color can either be too dark or too light as well as red, blue, or even black.
  • To alert the doctor and have too large of education. All the so-called "moles", which in diameter more 6 mm is the reason forfor additional research.

We can distinguish the following common symptoms, which characterize all the types of skin cancer:

  • Significant weight loss that is not associated with an increase in physical activity or changes in diet.
  • Chronic fatigue, despite regular guests.
  • Loss of appetite, without concomitant diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The temperature rise in a small range up to 37,2 ° C, which is kept constantly.
  • A significant increase in lymph nodes, which are easily determined by palpation.
  • All active stages are characterized by marked pain syndrome that is present on a permanent basis.

Also doctors distinguish certain characteristics that are very characteristic of malignant tumors from squamous epithelium:

  • If the wound or sore for a long time do not heal or bleed.
  • If any area of skin suddenly forms one or more spots have a reddish tint.
  • If there is any build-up gets covered with crusts or scales, the upper layers moving away, and the growth does not stop.
  • If on the body or face is detected nodules with a shiny surface and different in color from the skin. Colour these nodules resemble scars.

Depending on which of the subtypes of the tumor struck the skin will differ, and the corresponding symptoms, so they need to differentiate.

Basal cell carcinoma

For basal cell carcinoma characterized by the following symptoms:

  • The emergence of a single entity, with the form polasara.
  • The tumor slightly raised above the skin, has a color or grayish or pink, giving mother-of-pearl. But in some cases, though not often, basal cell carcinoma are not distinguishable from the natural color of the skin.
  • Education itself is smooth, and at its centre are the scales. If they are removed, it will reveal erosion.
  • Tumor long long time does not manifest itself only gradually increases with age.
  • Sometimes education are multiple, if they open there appear droplets of blood.
  • Basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasises.

  • Mostly this pathology occurs on the face and causes a disruption of the bodies near whichis.


As for melanoma, it is one of the most dangerous types of cancer, as it provides a large number of metastases and a very rapidly spreading.

For melanoma characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Education does not appear by itself. It necessarily precedes any education on the skin. It could be a mole, freckle, or any other area, actively producing melanin. It is called nevus.
  • You should pay attention to symptoms such as change the colour of the nevus and its significant increase in size. That is, it becomes blue, white or red, but not brown.
  • Significantly increases the density education.
  • Lesions can itch, be swollen and raised, tender. Sometimes these symptoms are so pronounced that they cause the patient to immediately seek medical attention.
  • After some time on the surface of the former freckles or moles can form ulcers.

Squamous cell neoplasm

Squamous cell neoplasm has its own distinctive symptoms, the main of which is the rapid increase in size. This type of cancer appears only in areas that get sunlight.

You can also select the following features:

  • Education small in size, but fairly dense knot, which has a rather dense structure and appearance hummocky surface.
  • The plaque is painted red or any shade of brown, can sometimes peel off, and sometimes on its surface the crust formed.
  • Many doctors often draw a parallel between the appearance of tumors and cauliflower, as they have some similarities.
  • Developing, the knot turns into untidy wart on the surface which formed sores and discharge which has an unpleasant putrid smell.
  • Characteristic symptom for this type of cancer is the rapid increase in the size and capture new areas.


Another kind of cancer affecting the skin, is adenocarcinoma.

Although it is quite rare, however, is aware of its main symptoms:

  • The localization – the armpit, the folds under the Breasts, that is, those areas of the body where there are accumulations of sebaceous glands.
  • Appearance – a small bump or knot.
  • Growth is slow, but as we move into an active phase, adenocarcinoma affectsmuscles and increased to a very impressive size.

Causes of skin cancer

The causes of skin formations there is quite a large number, but among oncologists decided to allocate the following:

  • The impact on the upper layers of the skin of substances that have carcinogenic effects. These often include the tar, tobacco smoke, arsenic, any heavy metals.
  • Irrational approach to nutrition, the prevalence of food products containing nitrates and nitrites. Risk are all types of smoked products, fried foods, and canned and marinades.
  • Radioactive and thermal radiation.
  • Any mechanical trauma to the mole. It can be cut by careless shaving or applying scratches.
  • Radiation dermatitis. Then skin cancer is a complication of the disease.

  • Burn any degree.
  • The impact of UV rays on unprotected skin.
  • Tattooing, as on undamaged areas of skin and those with moles or freckles. It is caused by trauma to the upper layers of the epidermis, but the presence in the paint of carcinogens, in particular arsenic, aluminum, Nickel or titanium.
  • Hereditary factors, so often there is a cancer arising from family members related by blood.
  • Overly light skin, in which there is a distinct lack of melanin.
  • Retirement age. So, this type of cancer often affects people over 60 years old, regardless of gender.
  • People who are genetically predisposed to the formation of any types of tumors.
  • The presence in the body of the human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis.

  • The cutaneous horn. This formation is typical for elderly people who spent a lot of time under the influence of ultraviolet rays.
  • The abuse of alcohol and even more long-term Smoking.
  • The keratitis patients.
  • Bowen's Disease. It is also a peculiar kind of cancer, but it does not penetrate deep into tissues.
  • The presence of nevi. Often these formations are benign, but under the influence of a number of factorsable to be reborn.

  • Any chronic skin condition.
  • Work outdoors, for example, fishermen or peasants, involved in agricultural work, skin cancer occurs more often than people in other professions.
  • Accommodation in the southern regions of the country. Thus, comparative analysis shows that residents of the Krasnodar region are suffering from this disease almost five times more likely, compared to residents of Tyumen.

Solarium increases the risk of skin cancer!

A special place among the causes of the occurrence of skin cancer you can take a Solarium. Thus, the ultraviolet rays most commonly cause a person the most dangerous type of this disease bearing malignant is melanoma, which is characterized by its aggressiveness.

So, in 2009, a study was conducted by scientists from several countries, whose data showed that the ultraviolet rays used in tanning beds cause increased skin cancer. Persons visiting such a room, the risk of melanoma increases by 75%. This is especially true for the age group of people up to 30 years.

Naturally, in this group fall mainly in young women, as among them this procedure is very popular.

Scientists have noted that the safe room does not happen, although many manufacturers claim that in their rooms, where are the rays of type A, you can spend quite a long time. It has been scientifically proven that regardless of the nature of radiation is still high risk of developing melanoma.

In addition, a connection between the visit these rooms and the occurrence of melanoma of the retina. That's why doctors in one voice appeal to all lovers of tanning completely abandon this harmful procedure and not to go on about producers who only seek to gain.

Stages of skin cancer

Like all varieties of cancer, this type of cancer is subdivided into certain stages. In order to diagnose what stage the disease has reached, doctors use a variety of methods, including: MRI, x-ray and computed tomography, blood analysis, and endoscopic ultrasound. If you want to clarify diagnosis, the biopsy. We also study the condition of the lymph nodes in the subjectof detection of cancer cells.

You should know that for melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma are characterized by different stages. So for the first emit zero stage, which is characterized by just the presence of education on the skin. Cancer, have been detected at the zero phase of its development, is very successfully responding to treatment. This is due to the fact that affect only the top layer of the skin, so the survival rate for these patients is equivalent to 100%.

Initial stage 1

The initial stage is characterized by the fact that education does not exceed more than 2 cm in diameter. Excellent moves together with the skin and has no metastasis. Nevertheless affects the lower layers of the epidermis, but the tumor is in one place. Treatment at this stage is very effective and often leads to complete recovery of the patient.

Stage 2 skin cancer

If we talk about the size, that at this stage the malignancy reaches 4mm. But the most important thing is that the cancer cells have not reached the lymph nodes and began to exert its destructive effect on the entire body. But sometimes, the doctors detect the presence of a single metastasis, which is adjacent to the tumor the lymph node. Patients often experience unpleasant and painful sensations that are localized at the location of the tumor.

If the patient timely notice of this pathology and is assigned adequate treatment of the disease, the prognosis is rather comforting and the percentage five-year survival rate is 50% of the total number of people.

Stage 3 skin cancer

For the third stage is characterized by failure of the lymphatic system, but the metastases in the organs are not yet available. As for the neoplasm, it has a lumpy appearance and causes the patient very uncomfortable feeling. In this case the mobility is already limited, as the tumor has invaded not only the skin but also beneath the fabric.

Quite often at this stage the observed increase in body temperature. The survival rate is not more than 30% of the total number of patients.

Stage 4 skin cancer

Tumor or ulceration is large, captures large areas of the skin. Education grows deep inside and often affects the skeleton, cartilage. Most often it bleeds and poisons the whole body.

Metastasis spreading to many organs, most often at the beginning of the affected liver, and pulmonary system of the patient. The survival rate is very low and does not exceed 20% of the patients.

Types of skin cancer

Since the skin consists of cells that belong to a large number of tissues, there are significant differences in the tumors, they are amazing. Therefore, the concept of cancer in this case is very collective in nature and identifies all pathology of malignant character.

However, experts identify the most common types, which include Basilone, melanoma, squamous cell formation, lymphoma, carcinoma and sarcoma Kaposi's.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin

This kind of pathological process in the skin has several synonyms can also be called squamous cell epithelioma or spinalioma. Found regardless of the body area and can be located anywhere. But the most affected by this defeat exposed parts of the body, and the lower lip. Sometimes doctors detect squamous cell carcinoma, lokalizirutesa on the genitals.

The growth is not selective towards people based on gender, but for age, are more likely to suffer pensioners. The reasons provoking its appearance, experts suggest tissue scarring after burns or mechanical injury, systemic. Also provoke the appearance of squamous cell carcinoma may actinic keratosis, chronic dermatitis, ringworm, lupus, tuberculosis and other diseases.

It should be noted that cancer resulting from skin damage sun rays, gives metastases very rarely, but formed as a result of scarring of the skin in 30% of cases.

This type of cancer is a nodular lesions, which may be single or multiple. As his development, he becomes less mobile and more painful, starts to bleed, even from a light touch, especially warty varieties.

When the disease is caused by the presence in the body of HPV, then it is characterized by active growth and form, by its structure resembling a tomato. Ulcers appear after months after the formation of the tumor.

Ulcer type squamous cell carcinoma is characterized by the same entities that have an irregular shape, clear boundaries. A distinctive feature is the growth of the cancer is not deep into the tissue and the size increase at the periphery. Its color is red, and on the surface detected by the plaque yellowish.

Basal skin cancer

This type of cancer has such synonyms as basal cell carcinoma or basal epithelioma. Are often prone to relapses, but in most cases does not give metastases.

The main causes ofthis type of cancer scientists identify genetic factors due to genetic predisposition, as well as malfunctions of the immune system. Often you can stetit opinions about what basal cell carcinoma develops due to exposure to carcinogens or insolation. The skin changes may not be present, and may be the place to be. For example, this applies to such lesions, as psoriasis, nevi, lupus and other diseases. You should not recline and ultraviolet radiation as a provoking factor in the proliferation of basal cell carcinoma, also thermal burns and ingestion of arsenic. Important is the fact that education of this type often occur in those people who in childhood a lot of time were in the sun.

Basal cell carcinoma most often grows relatively slowly, occurs in the epidermis or scalp, in their follicles. This pathology physicians consider from the point of view of a kind of the tumor and not cancer or benign neoplasm.

Education can be both single and multiple, have a circular shape from pink to dark red color and a few rise above the skin level. There are several forms of basal cell carcinoma: superficial, pigmented, tumor, ulcer, scar, atrophic and fibroepithelial.

Often the appearance of basal cell carcinoma prone people crossed the threshold of 40 years, regardless of gender. In adolescents and younger children, these tumors almost never occur, an exception may be its congenital form, called syndrome Gorlin-Char.

Cell skin cancer

Cell skin cancer is one of the synonyms of basal cell carcinoma. So it runs on the same type as the above disease. It is worth noting that, despite the relatively rare metastasis, this kind can still give "sprouts". In such cases, the prognosis of survival is very low and people suffering from cell carcinoma with metastases do not live more than a year.

Diagnosis of skin cancer

Diagnosis of any skin cancer is almost nothing difficult. If the patient discovers any education that causes the slightest suspicion, you should be sure to consult your doctor oncologist.

  • First, the doctor will make a visual inspection. Also for this purpose in specialized centers there is a device called epiluminescence microscope, which reveals the internal structure of any education due to the fluorescent lighting.

  • If the doctor occursuspicion, he will order a biopsy they take a small area of skin undergoing laboratory tests for the presence of cancer cells. Biopsy can be needle, incisional, excisional or be in the nature of cutting. The process utilizes a scalpel or thin blade, depending on the selected study type.

  • When the study gives a positive result and the patient found cancer cells, it is necessary to implement a number of further actions to determine the stage of the tumor. This blood sample will be taken, done CT scan, MRI, chest x-ray and sometimes an ultrasound. When there is a suspicion that a pathological process has involved the lymph nodes, the doctor prescribes the study, called fine-needle aspiration biopsy.

Treatment of skin cancer

The therapeutic effect is assigned only by the doctor and depends on how far gone the pathological process, and what is the form of cancer struck someone:

  • The most common method is surgery. This removes the tumor and lymph nodes, if they were defeated.
  • For the treatment of skin cancer and used radiation therapy, there are effect on the affected areas of the skin to ionizing radiation. One of the modern methods of removing skin cancer is cryogenic therapy or treatment with nitrogen. In this case, the tumor affected with the low temperatures. Also doctors use in their practice laser and drug therapy.
  • One of the most effective methods is the micrographic surgery according to MOHS, the essence of which is the direct impact of it on the affected area, due to the fact that the surgery is performed under a microscope. The prognosis for recovery in this case is very favorable and after the operation the skin is almost no visible defects.

Naturally, when indicated, treatments can be combined and applied in the complex. The main thing to avoid getting the disease in one of the last stages.

Also: Other effective treatments

Treatment of skin cancer folk remedies

According to doctors oncologists, cancer treatment, regardless of its localization is possible only in a hospital by surgery and effects of medicines. Therefore folk remedies you can apply at your own risk.

In more detail:about the rare recipes of traditional medicine

Prevention of skin cancer

As preventive measures designed to reduce the number of patients with skin cancer, doctors recommend the following:

  • To protect the skin from sun exposure, especially long and intense. This rule applies to all people without exception, but especially it is important for seniors and young children. And those who from birth has light skin.
  • The use of sunscreen and moisturizing creams.
  • Any ulcers and fistulas that long to heal need to be mandatory to show the doctor and treat their radical methods.
  • To try to protect against mechanical impact and injury scars and places of burns.

  • When in contact with potentially dangerous substances strictly use personal hygiene measures.
  • Conduct regular inspections of his body and if it detected any suspicious entities to immediately inform the doctor.

It should be remembered that the earlier the cancer is detected, the more chances in the near future forget about it forever.

ykov, Yevgeny Pavlovich, doctor-oncologist