Skin cancer is a group of cancerous tumors, which grow from epithelial tissue. Melanoma is usually not included in this concept because this disease is more aggressive, it is treated differently and has a different prognosis. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) or squamous cell carcinoma. Although these tumors are malignant, the disease proceeds favorably, and the patients rarely die from it. The neoplasms appear on the surface of the skin, they can be quickly diagnosed and totally removed.
Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on the open areas of the body, which are affected by ultraviolet radiation. The first sign is the development of the formation on the skin, which may look like:
- Pink formation with a hollow in the central part and many blood vessels
- Red spot rising above the skin and causing itching
- Skin roughness with areas of different colors, different from the color of the surrounding skin
- Ulcers, which heal but then reappear
Basal cell carcinoma contains many blood vessels. Therefore, it bleeds heavily even in case of the slightest damage.
Squamous cell carcinoma usually develops on the back of the hands, face, neck, and less commonly on the reproductive organs. It looks like:
- Coarse scaly stain, may crust
- Formation with a hollow in the central part
- Fast-growing wart
- Long-term non-healing or constantly recurring erosion
Such additional symptoms as pain, swelling, itching, bleeding subsequently manifest themselves in skin cancer. Nonetheless, the pathological changes can often be detected by the patient prior to the appearance of these clinical signs. Therefore, most tumors can be detected at an early stage.
For early diagnostics, it is important to timely carry out self-examination of the skin. The neoplasms sometimes appear on the back, scalp or other areas where the patient may not notice them.
The examination of the skin should be carried out every month. This is carried out in a well-lit room, in front of a mirror. You should stand at full height, take mirror in your hand and examine all parts of your body, including hands, soles, areas behind the ears, nails and back. If the pathological changes in the skin are detected, you should visit a doctor.
Self-examination is strongly recommended in the presence of the following risk factors:
- Burdened family medical history – cases of skin cancer among immediate relatives
- Reduced immunity
- Large number of age spots on the skin
The recommended examination procedure:
- Face, neck, ears, stomach, skin under the breasts.
- Armpits, arms, including between the fingers and under the nails.
- In the sitting position: examination of the legs, including feet, skin between the fingers and nails.
- Using a hand mirror: back surfaces of legs, feet.
- With a hand and wall mirror at the same time: buttocks, reproductive organs, back, back side of auricles.
- Using hairbrush: hairy part of the head.
The main diagnostic method for skin cancer remains a biopsy. The following types of this examination can be carried out:
- Tangential biopsy – the doctor shaves the top layer of the skin with a blade, and then stops the bleeding with the help of local drug or electrocoagulation
- Puncture biopsy – the doctor uses a very thick needle with a diameter of several millimeters, he inserts it into the skin and takes it out with the sample of the tissue, after which the wound will be sutured
- Excisional biopsy – the tumor is totally removed
- Incisional biopsy – if the tumor is large, only its part is removed
Skin cancer rarely spreads to the lymph nodes, as it is usually detected and removed before that, but if the doctor suspects metastasis in them, he will perform sentinel lymph node biopsy. The material is collected from the first sentinel lymph node, which collects lymph from the area of the skin where the neoplasm occured. A biopsy is performed with a thin needle. It can sometimes be removed surgically and then sent for histological examination.
In most cases, the diagnostics of skin cancer is limited to a biopsy alone. This disease rarely develops to the spread stage.
In some patients who ignore all the symptoms and stubbornly do not want to see a doctor, the tumor grows and spreads. In this case, the imaging methods will be additionally carried out for its diagnostics. They help to obtain the following information:
- Determine the exact shape, size of the neoplasm
- Detect metastasis in the lymph nodes
- Detect distant metastatic foci
- Assess the degree of tumor invasion in neighboring tissues
- Plan skin cancer surgery
The most common imaging tests include computed or magnetic resonance imaging. The doctor scans the area where the primary tumor is located.
Treatment in Germany with the Booking Health company
You can undergo the diagnostics and treatment of skin cancer in Germany. In this country, medicine is considered one of the best in the world. You can book a diagnostic program with the help of Booking Health. We will arrange your trip to Germany. We provide the following services and benefits:
- Selection of the best clinic specializing in the diagnostics and treatment of skin cancer using laser, surgery, cryosurgery and other modern techniques.
- Reduced costs for examination and therapy up to 50% due to the lack of overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients.
- Booking the appointment on the most suitable dates for you.
- Preparation of the program for diagnostics, resection, cryosurgery or laser cancer removal, taking into account previously performed examinations.
- Establishment of communication directly with the attending physician.
- Monitoring of all stages of the examination program, surgery or conservative therapy.
- Control of invoices, return of unspent funds.
- Buying and forwarding of medicines.
- Organization of additional diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.
- Communication with the clinic upon the diagnostics and tumor resection.
The Booking Health company will provide top-class services. We will book a hotel and airline tickets for you, meet you at the German airport and take you to the clinic by car.