Cancer is the most deadly disease in the world. There are many types of cancer and skin cancer is one of the deadliest and life-threatening diseases. Skin is the largest body organ and it protects us from infection, sunlight, heat, cold, and any injuries. Skin also helps in temperature control and also helps to absorb nutrition like fat, water, and vitamin D from sunlight.
Stage Of Skin Cancer
The skin has two main layers namely the epidermis known as the outer layer and the dermis known as the inner layer.
Skin cancer mostly occurs on the epidermis which consists of 3 cells: – Melanocytes, Basal cells, and Squamous cells. Being exposed to sunlight for over a long period of time or to artificial light mostly the tanning beds can lead to skin cancer.
Thus, it is highly recommended to put on a sun cream if you are traveling under the hot sun, so that your skin doesn’t burn and there are no risks for cancer. Cancer can also be hereditary. If you are being exposed to arsenic or a high amount of radiation this will also lead to skin cancer over a period of time, if necessary, precautions are not taken.
Doctors mainly classify cancer using a theoretical tool known as TNM
T: T stands for the size of the tumor and how deep it has penetrated into the skin.
N: N stands for the involvement of the lymph nodes in the skin cancer
M: M stands for metastasis which means if cancer has spread from its initial point of discovery or not.
Understanding the stages of skin cancer
There are 5 stages of skin cancer
- Stage 0 – This is the initial stage in skin cancer and is called as carcinoma. In this stage cancer is just present on the epidermis and has not spread inwards to the dermis. This stage is easily treatable if found early on through regular check up with your doctor or health care professional
- Stage 1 – This stage is also known as basal cell carcinoma and in this stage the cancer cells are less than 2 cm in height and are still present on the skin and has not made its way to organs or lymph nodes. This stage is not considered that fatal or life threatening as this can be treated with proper medication and chemo therapy.
- Stage 2 – In this stage the cancer or the tumour is larger than 2 cm but still hasn’t been spread to any organs or to lymph nodes. However, this stage is considered a bit serious as there are life threatening situations.
- Stage 3 – In this stage the cancer or the tumour has made its way into the facial bones and to the nearby lymph nodes and starts to get malignant. This stage is considered as quite serious and one should start the diagnosis right away.
- Stage 4 – This is considered to be the final stage in basal cell carcinoma where in the cancer or the tumour has spread to one or more lymph nodes and are larger than 3 cm. The cancer would have made its way to the organs as well and is considered to be quite fatal and life threatening.
The stages are similar in the squamous cell carcinoma stages as well with the only difference being that the size of cancer or the tumor is considered in mm there.
Before Diagnosing the patient, a doctor needs to find answers to the below questions
- Where exactly is the cancer located in the patients body? – there won’t be skin cancer in all parts of the skin, it is mostly on the arms, neck or the leg region, where in the skin is exposed to outer surroundings.
- At what stage the cancer is at?
- Does the patient suffer from any other illness?
- Whether the cancer has spread to other areas or is it isolated to just one area?
There are various treatments now available for skin cancer and if detected early can be very much helpful. One should do frequent check-ups with the doctor and follow the prescription that has been given by the physician. Skin cancer can be cured by chemo or through medicines as well.
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