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Skin cancer – Causes, types, and other key facts

Skin cancer – Causes, types, and other key facts

Skin cancer is a health condition that can turn deadly if not treated at the earliest. According to reports, around 20 million people in the country will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, with more than 9,000 deaths estimated. Sometimes, it can be detected early enough to be cured by removing the affected tissue or through therapy. However, in other instances, symptoms appear too late.


The leading causes of skin cancer are overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, sunburn, tanning beds, and other sources of tanning lamps or tanning booths in salons or spas. A history of skin cancer in the family is another cause.

A doctor or a dermatologist can diagnose it through a skin biopsy procedure. During a skin biopsy, the dermatologist will remove cells from the skin and examine them under a microscope for signs of cancer. If there are indications of the condition, they may recommend other tests such as an X-Ray to confirm their diagnosis


There are several types of skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

The most common type of skin cancer, BCC is a slow-growing, non-melanoma form of skin cancer.It often appears as one or multiple small, flesh-colored, pink, or red bumps on the skin that may appear shiny and pearly if they are recently formed. Every year, skin cancer affects more than 2 million people.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
It is a widespread form of skin cancer that develops between the middle, and outer layers of the skin called the squamous cells. SCC is not life-threatening but, when left untreated, can cause serious complications.

Melanoma is the most dangerous cancer type, which develops in the melanocytes that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Besides the skin, melanoma can also develop in the eyes and, at times, even inside the nose and throat.

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)
An infrequent type of cancer that happens when the Merkel cells in the skin begin to grow rapidly. The MCC tends to multiply and can be difficult to cure when it spreads beyond the skin.

Some of the most common symptoms include redness or itching appearing on the affected area, swelling that seems to move rapidly in one direction, and sudden skin growths that do not shrink with remedy. This can signify malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Changes in skin color (usually tanning), texture (such as thickening or thinning), and size and shape of moles/pigmented lesions are common signs of malignant melanoma. It is imperative to consult a health expert immediately if one or all of the symptoms are detected.


Skin cancer can be treated in various ways, with natural remedies proven to benefit better than prescription treatment. Some of the most common treatment methods are given below.


There are several types of surgeries, such as simple excision methods, Mohs micrographic surgery, shave excision, curettage and electrodesiccation procedure, cryosurgery, laser surgery, and dermabrasion. All these methods are used to treat the BCC and SCC types of skin cancer.

Radiation therapy

Includes external beam radiation therapy treatment where the cancer cells are exposed to high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation. Cancer cells can be destroyed using this type of therapy.


Involves injecting anti-cancer chemicals into the body to control and kill the cancer cells present in our skin.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

PDT is a type of treatment where a combination of prescription treatment with specific light is used to kill cancerous cells.


A treatment method where the patient’s immune system is boosted directly or restored to fight and kill the cancerous cells.

Natural remedies
Overexposure to the sun is a significant cause, so it is advised to avoid spending time in the sun. If you are stepping out, ensure that you wear protective clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on face and exposed body areas, including hands.

Nutritional regime
Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and vitamin D. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are excellent sources of antioxidants like vitamins C and E that help keep your body healthy by preventing oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Other good sources include blueberries, broccoli, kale/collard greens, green tea, strawberries, and watermelon. These foods may also contain flavonoids which have proved to reduce inflammation; however, research suggests that people who drink lots of red wine tend to have lower levels than those who don’t drink at all, so it’s best not to rely solely on one source alone.

Though it is a severe health condition that can be extremely painful, it is also curable. If any of the conditions or symptoms are detected, a health expert must be consulted immediately for diagnosis and treatment.