Skin exposed to the sun is where skin cancer, or the abnormal proliferation of skin cells, most frequently occurs. However, this prevalent type of cancer can also develop on parts of your skin that are not often exposed to sunlight.
Where Does Skin Cancer Start?
Skin cancer typically appears in sun-exposed regions of the body, such as the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, forearms, and hands in women, as well as the legs. It can also develop on parts of your body that are infrequently exposed to sunlight, such as your palms, the skin just below your finger or toenail, and your genital region.
All skin tones, even those with dark skin, are susceptible to developing skin cancer. Individuals with dark skin tones are more prone to develop melanoma on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet, which are often not exposed to the sun.
Three Common Skin Cancer Types
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cells, a type of skin cell that creates new skin cells as old ones degenerate, are where basal cell cancer starts. Although it can take numerous forms, basal cell carcinoma frequently manifests as a small, slightly translucent lump on the skin. The skin on your head and neck, which is exposed to the sun, is where basal cell carcinoma most frequently develops. Too much sun exposure is regarded to be the primary cause of the majority of basal cell carcinomas. Utilizing sunscreen and minimizing the sun’s rays may help prevent basal cell cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma typically appears on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun, particularly your neck as well as head. Basal cell carcinoma can less frequently form on areas of your body like the genitalia that are typically shielded from the sun.
An alteration in the skin, including a growth or an open sore, can signal basal cell carcinoma. These skin alterations (lesions) typically exhibit one of the following attributes:
- A blemish, slippery, white sore without a definite border.
- A raised edged patch that is flat and scaly. These areas may get fairly huge with time.
- A lesion that is brown, black, blue, or has dark patches on it, and it has a mildly elevated, transparent border.
- A glossy, skin-colored lump that is transparent, allowing some light to pass through it. On white skin, the bump may seem pink or pearly white. On black and dark skin, the bump frequently appears glossy black or brown. Tiny blood vessels might be apparent, albeit it might be challenging to see them. The lump can bleed and develop into a scab.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The middle and outer layers of the skin are made up of squamous cells, which are where squamous cell carcinoma typically originates. Even though it can be severe, squamous cell carcinoma often does not pose a life-threatening threat. However, if squamous cell carcinoma is left untreated, it can become huge or spread to other areas of your body, leading to life-threatening consequences.
Squamous cell carcinomas are brought on by extended exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning salons. Minimizing UV light exposure will lower your risk of developing skin cancer altogether.
Mohs Surgery Can Treat Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is treated with the precision surgical method known as Mohs surgery. Thin layers of skin that contain cancer are gradually removed during a Mohs procedure and evaluated until only cancer-free tissue is left.
The objective of Mohs surgery is to remove the most amount of skin cancer while causing the least amount of harm to the surrounding healthy tissue. With the use of a local anesthesia, Mohs surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure.
Standard surgery (local excision), which entails eradicating the visible malignancy and a narrow margin of surrounding good tissue all at once, is improved by Mohs surgery. The Mohs procedure enables surgeons to confirm that every cancer cell has been surgically eliminated. This lowers the need for subsequent surgeries or treatments and raises the likelihood of a cure.
Why is Mohs Surgery Performed?
The most typical skin malignancies, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as some types of melanoma and other less common skin cancers, are all treated using Mohs surgery.
The following types of skin cancer benefit most from Mohs surgery:
- Those that are substantial or hostile.
- Those that have a border that is difficult to specify.
- Those that are situated in regions where the doctor can save as much healthy tissue as possible, like the area surrounding the genitals, nose, mouth, etc.
- Those that possess a high propensity for recurrence or have returned following therapy.
What Results to Expect Following Mohs Surgery
One benefit of Mohs surgery is that the doctor will make sure all of the skin cancer has been removed before finishing the procedure plus you will see your results right away. Your surgeon or referring physician may schedule a follow-up appointment with you to check on your progress and ensure that your wound is healing appropriately.