e-book Non-melanoma Skin Cancer of the Head and Neck

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It appears as a flat, firm white or yellow area.

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Morpheaform BCC can look like a scar. It grows and spreads more quickly than nodular and superficial BCC. SCC starts in squamous cells of the skin, which are flat cells found in the outer part of the epidermis. It is also more likely than BCC to grow deeper into the skin and spread.

This means that the cancer can grow into nearby tissue or deeper layers of skin. SCC usually develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun. SCC can also develop on the skin around the anus and vagina. They tend to have a high risk of the cancer coming back after it has been treated recurrence. Keratoacanthoma is a tumour that looks very much like SCC.

It tends to develop and grow quickly then suddenly shrink without any reason spontaneous regression. This happens over a short period of time, usually a few weeks or months. The following non-melanoma skin cancers are rare. Merkel cell carcinoma cutaneous T-cell lymphoma Kaposi sarcoma soft tissue sarcomas , such as dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and angiosarcoma microcystic adnexal carcinoma sweat gland cancer.

Call us toll-free at Or write us. We will reply by email or phone if you leave us your details. If we are not able to reach you by phone, we will leave a voicemail message. Early diagnosis is crucial in achieving the most appropriate treatment. Because skin cancers are related to exposures, people who have previously developed skin cancers are at much higher risk for future skin cancers. This can happen either in the primary original site or somewhere else on the body. Because of this, a complete skin exam should be performed by a healthcare provider at regularly scheduled visits.

BCC typically presents as a small pearly or crusty patch that doe not to heal. Because they are painless and typically develop slowly, they are often present for months to years before they are brought to the attention of the healthcare provider. Often, BCC can be identified by blood vessels that are prominent within the bump. As the lesions grow, crusting and bleeding ulcers that do not heal are frequently the reason individuals present to their provider. Other regions of the body commonly diagnosed with BCC include the back of the neck, the shoulders, the forearms and hands, the back, and lower legs.

Although the lesions are slow-growing and rarely develop the ability to spread to lymph system or other parts of the body, the lesions can progress locally. As the BCC grows, it may invade adjacent areas, including blood vessels, cartilage, and bone. This spread can be disfiguring. Lesions are frequently neglected because of their slow growth.

Risk factors for recurrence after treatment of basal cell carcinomas include depth of invasion, pathologic sub-type, and perineural invasion. The appearance of squamous cell carcinoma is typically a small, painless, elevated and crusty lump. As the lesions grow, they can become an ulceration and may bleed. They can also be rather aggressive locally, causing significant damage and disfiguration to local structures. Risk factors for recurrence after treatment of squamous cell carcinomas include perineural invasion, tumor thickness, and poorly differentiated histology.

The most common location of SCC is the face. Other areas at high risk include the back, shoulders, forearms and hands, and lower legs. They often have the potential to become malignant basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas.

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These lesions initially develop into dysplasia, or atypical cells. This biopsy removes either the entire lesion or part of it and the layers beneath it, allowing the depth of the lesion to be accurately determined. There are several different types of biopsies:. The sample of lesion is sent to a lab to be looked at by a pathologist who determines if the lesion is cancerous and if cancerous what type of skin cancer it is. Along with the biopsy your provider will do a full physical exam and health history.

Non - melanoma cancer

Your provider may order further testing to see if the cancer has spread. The stage of cancer, or extent of disease, is based on information gathered through the various tests done as the diagnosis and work-up of the cancer is being performed. This is reported on your pathology report — you may want to ask for a copy of this report for your personal files. It has three components: T-describing the extent of the "primary" tumor the tumor in the anus itself ; N-describing if there is cancer in the lymph nodes; M-describing the spread to other organs metastases.

The entire staging system is outlined at the end of this article. Though complicated, the staging system helps healthcare providers determine the extent of the cancer, and in turn, make treatment decisions for a patient's cancer. The treatment of SCC and BCC is dependent on location of the tumor, the age of the individual at diagnosis, the extent of disease, and whether the area has been treated before. Non-melanoma skin cancers are generally treated locally with different methods including surgery, cryotherapy, and radiation.

In some instances, more than one treatment modality will be used to treat the cancer. This type of treatment involves freezing off the lesions with liquid nitrogen. It is frequently used in patients that are not ideal surgical candidates due to other medical conditions. The skin is then closed with sutures stitches.

Non-melanoma skin cancer in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland

The tissue is then sent to a laboratory for a pathologist to confirm all the cancer has been removed. This treatment involves local anesthesia followed by removal of the tumor by curettage scraping. The abnormality is scooped out with a curette until normal skin is appreciated. The entire area is then treated with an electrical current to stop any bleeding. The difficulty with curettage is found in evaluating the margins edges and depth of the tumor. This type of surgery is also very useful in traditionally difficult areas, including the face.

Radiation therapy involves daily treatments for several weeks. Radiation is more frequently used for skin cancers in the head and neck region as it offers improved cosmetic outcomes. The effectiveness of radiation as a primary treatment is related to tumor size, with smaller tumors generally responding better.

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

As late skin effects from radiation are a concern, radiation is generally reserved for older patients. Radiation therapy can also be used in conjunction with surgery when tumors are considered high risk or have positive margins as well as with recurrent tumors. Topical medications are occasionally used to treat BCC.

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The 5-FU cream is applied to the area twice daily for several weeks. Imiquimod is also an approved topical medication for BCC. This cream, which is thought to work by stimulating the immune system, is applied to the tumor five times a week for 6 weeks. This type of therapy is reserved for pre-malignant and very superficial lesions. There are two main types: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

A third group of lesions called keratinocyte dysplasias includes solar keratosis, Bowenoid keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma in-situ Bowen's disease. These are not invasive cancers, however may require treatment as some may develop into non-melanoma skin cancers. It begins in the lower layer of the epidermis top, outer layer of the skin.

  • Non-melanoma skin cancer (except cancers of the eyelid and the head and neck).
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It can appear anywhere on the body but most commonly develops on parts of the body that receive high or intermittent sun exposure head, face, neck, shoulders and back. It begins in the upper layer of the epidermis and usually appears where the skin has had most exposure to the sun head, neck, hands, forearms and lower legs.

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SCC generally grows quickly over weeks or months. Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet UV radiation from the sun. The risk of skin cancer is increased for people who have:. If you notice any significant changes to your skin, your doctor may examine you. Diagnosis is by biopsy removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope.

Usually a biopsy is sufficient to determine the stage of a non-melanoma skin cancer.

In cases of squamous cell carcinoma, lymph nodes may be examined to see if the cancer has spread. Sometimes, all the cancer is removed with the biopsy and in this case it will be the only treatment received. Surgery is the most common treatment. Non-melanoma skin cancers are almost always removed usually under a local anaesthetic.

In more advanced skin cancers, some of the surrounding tissue may also be removed to make sure that all of the cancerous cells have been taken.

Most non-melanoma cancer can be treated with chemotherapy that is applied to the skin as an ointment or cream.