The skin, the outermost coat of the human body functions as a protective cover against various insulting agents such as ultraviolet rays, excessive heat and various chemical agents. Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of skin, it is a condition in which there is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, the risk of developing skin cancer is higher in people who have experienced long term exposure of the sun. Other at risk includes those with a family history of skin cancer, people with fair skin.
The types of skin cancer includes
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma. Among skin cancers about 70% are basal cell carcinoma, 20% are Squamous cell carcinoma and 5% are melanocarcinomas. Other rare skin cancers are sebaceous carcinomas, dermoid cystic carcinomas etc
Basal cell carcinoma
It is the most common skin cancer; generally, it is a slow-growing neoplasm which can present as an ulcer of many years duration. In some cases, it can present as locally penetrating, ulcerative and destructive lesion. It arises from basal cell of the pilosebaceous adnexa and occurs only on the skin.
Common sites – inner canthus of the eye, outer canthus of the eye, eyelids, bridge of the nose, around naso labial fold. These sites are the areas where the tears roll down. Hence it is also called tear cancer.
- Ultraviolet rays
- Fair skin
- Use of arsenic in skin ointment
Clinical features / Symptoms of Skin cancer
- The most common clinical presentation is an ulcer that nerve heals, sometimes healing takes place with scabbing and later it breaks down and forms ulcer again. The ulcer has raised and beaded edge; indurations may be present and bleeds on touch. The base can be subcutaneous fat or deeper structures like muscle or bone depending upon invasion.
- It can also present as a painless, firm, nodule, which is pigmented with fine blood vessels on its surface.
- It can present as a nodular ulcerative form
- Rarely, it can be cystic variety which does not show fluctuation.
- Field fire rodent ulcer is a rapidly growing rodent ulcer with destruction and disfigurement of the facial skin. It has an advancing edge with healed central scar.
Investigations basal cell of skin cancer
Wedge biopsy from the edge of the ulcer is the main investigation in case of basal cell carcinoma.
Treatment of basal cell skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma responds well to radiation. Surgical excision also can be done.
Squamous cell skin cancer
It is the second common malignant skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma. It arises from prickle cell layer of the malpighian layer of the skin. It usually affects elderly males.
Clinical features of Squamous cell skin cancer
Typically, it is an ulcerative or cauliflower like lesion
- Edge is everted and indurated
- Base is indurated and it may be subcutaneous tissue, muscle or bone.
- Floor contains cancerous tissue which looks like granulation tissue. It is pale, friable, bleeds easily on touch.
- Surrounding area is also indurated
- Mobility is usually restricted due to Infiltration of underlying structures.
- Regional lymph nodes like inguinal lymph nodes can get enlarged when Squamous cell carcinoma affects lower limb or abdominal wall.
Investigation of Squamous cell skin cancer
A wedge biopsy from the edge of the ulcer or growth is taken.
Treatment of Squamous cell skin cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma is treated by wide excision or radiotherapy.
It is a malignant skin cancer arising from pigment- forming cells which are derived from the neural crest. Melanocyte and melanoblasts convert dihydroxyphenylalanine in to melanin. This is called positive DOPA reaction. It is potentially curable skin cancer in early stages. If left untreated or if not treated properly, it disseminates rapidly, showers the body with tumor emboli and offers a very painful death.
Common sites of malignant melanoma
- Head and neck 20-30%
- Lower extremity 20-30%
- Trunk 20-30%
- Remaining cases occur in upper extremities, genitalia, choroid of the eye, etc.
Homeopathic treatment of skin cancer – Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat skin cancer but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned; several well-proved remedies are available for homeopathic treatment of skin cancer that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Few important remedies for the homeopathic treatment of skin cancer are given below:
Graphites, Thuja, Nitric Acid, Lycopodium, Causticum, Carbo Animalis, Antim Crude, Calcaria Carb, Sulphur, Rhus Tox, Pulsatilla, Silicea, Carbo Veg, Lachesis, Merc Sol, Nux vomica, Belladonna and many other medicines.