Skin cancer Diagnosis starts with discovery of one of the skin cancer signs and symptoms that is a suspicious bump, a sore or a spot on the skin. Self physical examination helps in checking warning skin cancer symptoms. Be familiar with the patterns of your skin markings, such as moles. Any change in them may dictate a potential for skin cancer. Be wary for new growth, which can also be a skin cancer sign. One of the most common guidelines to check for any changes is called the “ABCDE” rule. This rule helps discriminate between cancerous and noncancerous skin.
ASSYMETRY – most skin cancers presents with irregular shapes.
BORDER – the borders of skin cancer is irregular, jagged and undefined.
COLOR – skin cancer doesn’t have an even toned color, it usually has an unusual, varied color.
DIAMETER – skin cancers are often larger than regular skin features. They are also observed to grow significantly over time.
ELEVATION – most skin cancer are visibly elevated and raised off the skin.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis is confirmed with a series of diagnostic tests after the discovery of suspicious looking moles, slots or growth. One of the most commonly used diagnostic tests is skin biopsy. Biopsy is a procedure where in a small portion of skin is excised and is studied under the microscope. This is one way of identifying the specific type of skin cancer.
Skin cancer diagnosis has two types. Excisional biopsy involves excising, or cutting the entire visible growth. For melanoma type of skin cancer, the doctor cuts not only the visible growth but also the normal tissue around it. The second type, incisional biopsy, is one of the most common types of biopsy. Also called core biopsy, this procedure involves the cutting of a small portion of the growth as a sample to check for the existence of cancer cells. Further treatment is then done when this biopsy reveals a positive result.
SKIN CANCER prognosis depends its type and what stage it is on. The non-melanoma types, basal cell and squamous cell cancer are curable when detected early and treated promptly. The cure rate for both types of skin cancer is 100%. Melanoma, on the other hand, has a prognosis depending on how far the cancer has spread to nearby organs. A 95% cure rate can be seen when melanoma is diagnosed in its early stages and removal of the cancer growth is done promptly. The cure rate, however, drops significantly when the cancer spreads into nearby organs, and especially the lymph nodes. Skin cancer prognosis for metastasized melanoma can be as low as 50% survival rate or even incurable.
Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation is one of the most common skin cancer causes. Sun exposure is the main cause of acquiring not only non-melanoma cancers but also the most dangerous, malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the eighth most common malignant cancers in the United States, with an incidence rising rapidly, faster than other types of human cancer. Skin cancer diagnosis will also include the four major types of melanoma:
- Lentigo Maligna Type -It is commonly found on the ear and neck region of the body. The lesion starts small, with asymmetric and irregular borders, and varied pigmentations.
- Nodular Type – This type occurs usually on the trunk, the upper arms and the thighs. It presents as a non-healing skin ulcer, which may rise and form a nodule or penetrate deep into the skin.
- Superficial Spreading Melanoma – This is more common among white races. Often affecting the trunk, thighs and upper arms, superficial spreading melanoma begins as small, asymmetric macule, with pigmentation and color variations, usually with a reddish hue.
d. Acral- Lentiginous Type – This type commonly affects the hands, feet and the nail beds. Dark-skinned races are most commonly affected.
For an accurate skin cancer diagnosis, a physician consultation is necessary. An early and an accurate diagnosis of skin cancer will not only indicate the right skin cancer treatment options but it will improve your prognosis, as well.