Non-melanoma skin cancers develop on the upper layers of the skin. They are one of the most common types of cancer, with an estimated 3 million cases diagnosed each year in the USA. Non-melanoma skin cancers spread through the body slower than rarer melanoma skin cancers, making them easily treatable in most cases.
What causes skin cancer?
Most non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. This is usually from spending long periods of time in bright sunlight (which contains UV light) without using an adequate sun-block. The UV light can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing mutations that lead to cancer formation.
Sunlight contains three types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC does not reach our skin as it is filtered out by the Earth's atmosphere, UVB does pass through the atmosphere, and is responsible for most cases of skin cancer. UVA is the largest component of sunlight, and can penetrate deeper into the skin. Whilst it is usually associated with skin ageing effects, it has also been linked to skin cancer.
Who is most at risk?
Obviously, people who spend long periods in the sun (without using sun block) are more likely to develop skin cancer. However, there are other factors that can make you more prone to developing non-melanoma skin cancer. Age is a risk factor for skin cancer. As we get older, the cumulative damage to the skin from exposure to UV light grows. This means that in old age there is a build-up of UV damage, thus leaving older people more likely to develop skin cancer.
If you have already had skin cancer, your risk of developing it again is higher. Research suggests that people who have had a non-melanoma skin cancer have a ten times higher risk of developing a second cancer (compared to non-sufferers). Certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, solar keratosis and eczema can also increase the likelihood of developing non-melanoma skin cancer.
How can it be treated?
Non-melanoma skin cancers are usually treated with surgery through a place like Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center. Skin cancer surgery involves the removal of the cancerous growth and a small amount of the surrounding tissue. This is a relatively minor procedure that can be carried out under local anesthetic. It has a very high success rate, as the risk of a non-melanoma skin cancer spreading to other areas of the body is very low. Skin cancer can also be treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, although these methods will usually only be used if surgery is not a viable option.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.