Bump on skin after sunburn: Sunburn blisters: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Sunburn blisters: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
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Sunburn is a skin injury caused by heat and radiation. A first-degree burn affects the top layer of the skin and causes redness, slight tenderness, and may cause light peeling of the skin within 24 to 48 hours after injury.
A more serious sunburn, known as a second-degree burn, causes damage deeper in the skin. This type of burn may cause blisters to form and takes longer to heal. The blisters usually appear a few hours after sunburn occurs, but sometimes they can take up to 24 hours to develop.
Sunburn blisters can be extremely painful and take around a week to heal. This type of burn also increases the risk of developing skin cancer and melanoma. After the blisters heal, blister scars that appear as dark or light spots on the surface of the skin can remain visible for 6 to 12 months.
In this article, we look at what causes these blisters to form, how to look after them, and what can be done to protect the skin from the sun.
Fast facts on sunburn blisters:
- Sunburn blisters are similar in appearance to regular blisters.
- They tend to heal naturally after around a week.
- Sunburn blisters may be accompanied by more severe symptoms that should be seen by a doctor.
- People can avoid sunburn blisters by following sun protection guidelines.
Share on PinterestA second-degree burn from sun exposure may cause sunburn blisters.
Image credit: Axelv, 2008
Sunburn blisters form as small bumps on the skin.
They are usually white or transparent in appearance and filled with fluid, which can be lymph, serum, plasma, blood, or pus.
Most people who get sunburned will find the blisters very painful, particularly if touched or if an item of clothing rubs against them. They may also become extremely itchy.
However, both pain and itchiness will lessen as the blisters start to heal.
Sunburn blisters usually only ever occur when a person has been severely sunburned. Because of this, several complications can arise in a person who develops blisters due to overexposure to the sun.
These complications include:
Anyone who experiences these symptoms after being in the sun should seek advice from their doctor, regardless of whether sunburn blisters appear or not.
Sunburn blisters alone have few complications, though an infection may occur if they are picked at or popped. An infection could require medical treatment and will likely lead to scarring.
Because sunburn blisters usually only occur in people with bad sunburn, there is also an increased risk of skin cancer.
Many people with sunburn blisters find that they heal naturally and will disappear by themselves after about a week.
However, if a person is uncertain whether the lumps on their skin are sunburn blisters, they should visit a doctor or a dermatologist who will examine them and make a diagnosis based on the appearance of the lumps. The doctor or dermatologist can then offer possible treatment options and advice.
A person with sunburn blisters should visit their doctor immediately if they also experience any of the following symptoms:
- swelling of the skin
- chills or a high temperature (100°F or higher)
- dizziness, a severe headache, nausea, or vomiting
The doctor will ask questions such as how long they were in the sun and whether they used any sun protection. They will then be able to advise the individual on the best course of action.
Sunburn that is bad enough to cause blistering may require professional medical treatment.
A doctor may prescribe special burn cream to soothe the skin and help with the healing process and may also apply a dressing to protect the area.
If a person displays any of the associated sun poisoning symptoms, they may need to stay in the hospital to enable doctors to monitor them more closely.
Treating milder cases of sunburn at home is possible. It is essential to get indoors and out of the sun as soon as sunburn occurs.
Other home care options include:
- Cooling skin by having a cold bath or shower, or simply using a cold damp sponge or flannel can help soothe skin and relieve pain and itching.
- Applying lotions designed to relieve sunburn, such as those containing aloe vera, can also be helpful by soothing the skin and keeping it moisturized. Aloe vera gel is available for purchase online.
- Drinking plenty of hydrating fluids, such as water, will cool the body and prevent dehydration.
- Taking painkillers available for purchase over the counter or online, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help relieve pain.
- Remaining in a cool, shaded room away from direct sunlight.
- Covering up all affected areas and ensuring they are not exposed to the sun until the skin has fully healed.
Share on PinterestProtecting the skin with a sunscreen that has a high sun protection factor (SPF) is recommended to avoid sunburn.
The easiest way to avoid sunburn blisters is to stay out of the sun. However, this is not always practical or possible.
The most common ways to prevent sunburn blisters are:
- Avoiding going outside during the times when the sun is at its strongest.
- Protecting skin from the sun even on cloudier days will help to ensure it does not burn.
- Using a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and applying this every 2 hours when out in the sun. SPF 30 sunscreen is available for purchase online.
- Wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts, sunglasses, and wide-brim hats, will also give added protection.
- Applying sunscreen generously, making sure to cover every part of the body.
- Buying sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation and has a minimum 4-star rating for UVA protection.
- Re-applying sunscreen after entering the water or excessive sweating, even if the label says the product is water-resistant.
A person should also be aware of their skin’s sensitivity to the sun. This sensitivity varies from person to person, but typically fairer skinned people are likely to burn more quickly.
Some medicines can increase a person’s sensitivity to the sun and therefore the chances of them burning. People should be sure to read the labels of any medications before being in the sun for long periods of time and seek advice from a doctor if unsure.
Sunburn blisters can occur even in cooler, cloudier conditions, and light reflected off snow can also increase the risk of sunburn.
The dangers of exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun can result in more serious long-term effects, many of which will not become apparent until decades later
These long-term effects can include:
- Precancerous spots known as solar keratosis can appear on the skin and will usually be dark, rough, and scaly in appearance.
- Premature aging of the skin can occur on skin exposed to lots of sun along with dark sunspots.
- Skin cancer is another risk, particularly to those who burn their skin severely enough that sunburn blisters occur.
For many people with sunburn blisters, however, home care treatment options are enough to ensure that they recover well.
As long as sunburn blisters heal, are not picked at or popped, and do not become infected, they should go away and fade with time.
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 25, 2020.
What is Sun-Damaged Skin?
Although most people love the warmth and light of the sun, too much sun exposure can significantly damage human skin. The sun’s heat dries out areas of unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. In addition, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause burning and long-term changes in the skin’s structure.
The most common types of sun damage to the skin are:
- Dry skin — Sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkled, even in younger people.
- Sunburn — Sunburn is the common name for the skin injury that appears immediately after the skin is exposed to UV radiation. Mild sunburn causes only painful reddening of the skin, but more severe cases can produce tiny fluid-filled bumps (vesicles) or larger blisters.
- Actinic keratosis — This is a tiny bump that feels like sandpaper or a small, scaly patch of sun-damaged skin that has a pink, red, yellow or brownish tint. Unlike suntan markings or sunburns, an actinic keratosis does not usually go away unless it is frozen, chemically treated or removed by a doctor. An actinic keratosis develops in areas of skin that have undergone repeated or long-term exposure to the sun’s UV light, and it is a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer. About 10% to 15% of actinic keratoses eventually change into squamous cell cancers of the skin.
Image: Douceflour/Getty Images
- Long-term changes in the skin’s collagen (a structural protein) — These changes include photoaging (premature aging of the skin because of sun exposure) and actinic purpura (bleeding from fragile blood vessels beneath the skin surface). In photoaging, the skin develops wrinkles and fine lines because of changes in the collagen of a deep layer of the skin called the dermis. In actinic purpura, UV radiation damages the structural collagen that supports the walls of the skin’s tiny blood vessels. Particularly in older people, this collagen damage makes blood vessels more fragile and more likely to rupture following a slight impact.
Over a lifetime, repeated episodes of sunburn and unprotected sun exposure can increase a person’s risk of malignant melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. As a rule, if you have fair skin and light eyes, you are at greater risk of sun-related skin damage and skin cancers. This is because your skin contains less of a dark pigment called melanin, which helps to protect the skin from the effects of UV radiation.
Sun-damaged skin shows the following symptoms:
- Dry skin — The skin appears dry, flaky and slightly more wrinkled than skin on other parts of your body that have not been exposed to the sun. Dry skin is also one of the most common causes of itching.
- Sunburn — Mild sunburn causes pain and redness on sun-exposed skin. In most cases, there are clear boundary lines where the skin has been protected from the sun by shirt sleeves, shorts, a bathing suit or other clothing. More severe cases of sunburn produce painful blisters, sometimes together with nausea and dizziness.
- Actinic keratosis — An actinic keratosis appears as a small bump that feels like sandpaper or a persistent patch of scaly (peeling) skin that may have a jagged or even sharp surface and that has a pink, yellow, red or brownish tint. At first, an actinic keratosis may be the size of a pimple. Rarely, an actinic keratosis may itch or be slightly tender.
- Long-term changes in the skin’s collagen — Symptoms of collagen changes include fine lines, deeper wrinkles, a thickened skin texture and easy bruising on sun-exposed areas, especially the back of the hands and forearms.
In most cases, your doctor can confirm that you have sun-damaged skin simply by examining the area. Often, a biopsy is done to rule out skin cancer in a patch of actinic keratosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of skin is removed and examined in a laboratory.
The painful redness of sunburn will fade within a few days, provided that you do not re-expose your injured skin to the sun without using a sunblock or sunscreen. Some sun damage is permanent, although prescription medications, nonprescription remedies and skin-resurfacing treatments may improve the skin’s appearance.
You can help to prevent sun-damaged skin by taking the following steps:
- Apply a sunscreen before you go outdoors. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above, with a broad spectrum of protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Be sure to reapply often to avoid sweating off or washing off the sunscreen.
- Use a sunblock on your lips. Choose a product that has been specially formulated for the lips, with a sun protection factor of 20 or more.
- Limit your time outdoors when the sun is at its peak (from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in most parts of the continental United States).
- Wear sunglasses with UV light protection.
- Wear long pants, a shirt with long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim.
- Be aware that some medicines and skin care products can increase your skin’s risk of UV damage. These include certain antibiotics, as well as some prescription medicines that are used to treat psychiatric illness, high blood pressure, heart failure, acne and allergies. If you are taking a prescription medication and you normally spend a great deal of time outdoors, ask your health care professional whether you should take any special precautions to avoid sun exposure. Also, be aware that certain nonprescription skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids can make your skin more vulnerable to damage from sunlight.
To help detect actinic keratoses and other skin abnormalities in their earliest stages, examine your entire skin surface thoroughly every one to two months. Check for patches of discolored or scaly skin, moles, small pearly nodules, sores and other skin abnormalities on all parts of your body, including your scalp and genitals. Use a mirror to inspect harder-to-see areas of your back, shoulders, upper arms, buttocks and the soles of your feet. People who have numerous actinic keratoses should have their skin checked by a doctor at least twice a year.
The type of treatment depends on the form of sun damage:
- Dry skin — Try using a moisturizer that contains at least one of the following ingredients: glycerin, urea, pyroglutamic acid, sorbitol, lactic acid, lactate salts or alpha-hydroxy acids. Avoid using alpha-hydroxy acids or other acids on any sunburned skin. Avoid hot baths or hot showers, because these can make your sun-damaged skin even drier. Wash only with warm or cool water, using unscented soap that either has a high fat content or contains glycerin.
- Sunburn — For painful sunburn, try applying cool compresses (such as a cool, wet cloth) to your injured skin, or mist the area with sprays of cool water. If your discomfort continues, take a nonprescription pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin, as long as you do not have a health problem that has caused your doctor to advise you against taking these medications. Your doctor may prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory medication if you have extensive sunburn with severe blistering and pain.
- Actinic keratosis — The type of treatment that will work best for you depends on many factors, including the number, size and location of your actinic keratoses. Options include:
- Topical fluorouracil — The anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is applied directly to the skin to eliminate the actinic keratosis.
- Topical imiquimod — This topical treatment up-regulates your own body’s defense mechanisms to react against the actinic keratosis.
- Topical diclofenac sodium gel — This topical anti-inflammatory gel is applied twice daily for three months to treat the actinic keratosis.
- Cryotherapy — The actinic keratosis is frozen with liquid nitrogen.
- Chemical peels — A strong chemical solution is used to remove the top layer of skin, with the anticipation that normal skin will grow back later.
- Laser resurfacing — This works in the same way as a chemical peel to remove the top layer of skin, but it uses a laser beam instead of a chemical solution.
- Shave excision — The doctor carefully shaves away the area of abnormal skin. The skin shavings can also be used as a biopsy specimen to check for cancer.
- Photodynamic treatment (PDT) — A light-sensitizing solution is absorbed by the actinic keratosis and then “activated” by light, destroying the actinic keratosis.
Also, because an actinic keratosis is a sign that you are at increased risk of skin cancer, your doctor will schedule regular follow-up skin examinations to check periodically for new areas of abnormal skin.
- Photoaging and other collagen changes — Although it is not possible to reverse all of the effects of long-term sun damage, your doctor may be able to improve the appearance of your skin by prescribing tretinoin (a derivative of vitamin A) or strong alpha-hydroxy acids that you can apply directly to the skin. Other options include chemical peels; cryosurgery; laser resurfacing; or dermabrasion, in which the outer layer of skin is rubbed away with a special rotating brush or wheel. This allows new skin to grow in place of the old, sun-damaged skin. Your doctor may also be able to inject botulinum toxin (Botox) or fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm or collagen to temporarily reduce wrinkles. As with any cosmetic treatment, discuss risks and benefits with your physician.
When To Call a Professional
Call your primary care physician or a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems) if you have any of the following problems:
- Dry skin that doesn’t respond to nonprescription treatments
- A severe case of blistering sunburn
- A milder sunburn over a very large portion of your skin, especially if your painful skin makes it hard for you to sleep or to wear clothing
- A persistent scaly patch or nodule anywhere on your skin, or a skin ulcer that does not heal
- Abnormal bleeding under the skin, or skin that bruises very easily
- Any change in moles
Sun damage may result in a permanent cosmetic concern. Some treatments for actinic keratoses can leave a pale (de-pigmented) area of the skin surface. More important than appearance is the long-term impact of sun damage on your chances of developing skin cancer. The more unprotected sun exposure you have during your lifetime, the greater your risk of skin cancer, especially if you have a light complexion.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
American Academy of Dermatology
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
American Cancer Society (ACS)
The Skin Cancer Foundation
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Solar Keratosis. What is solar keratosis? Symptoms and causes.
What is an actinic keratosis?
An actinic keratosis is a small, thickened, scaly growth which develops on the skin. It is the most common skin condition caused by sun damage. It is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun over many years.
What does an actinic keratosis look like?
By Future FamDoc (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Each can range from the size of a pinhead to 1-3 cm across. Their colour can be light, dark, pink, red, the same colour as your skin, or a combination of these. The top of each one may have a yellow-white, scaly crust. Redness may develop in the surrounding skin. The picture shows actinic keratoses on a forehead.
Actinic keratoses feel rough and dry. They are slightly raised from the surface of the skin. Often it is easier to feel rather than see them. They can also be hard and warty. Sometimes hard skin grows out of an actinic keratosis like a horn (called a cutaneous horn).
Several actinic keratoses may develop at about the same time, often in the same area of skin. Sometimes they can join together and form a large, flat-ish, rough area of skin.
Actinic keratoses usually develop on areas of skin which have received a lot of sun exposure. Skin on the following areas is commonly affected:
- Bald patches on the scalp.
- The backs of the hands.
They may also appear in other areas (such as the back, chest and legs) in people who do a lot of sunbathing. There are usually no other symptoms. Rarely, you may get an itchy or prickling sensation from affected areas of skin.
Who gets actinic keratoses?
Actinic keratoses are caused by damage to the skin by UV light which is part of sunlight. The skin is normally good at repairing any minor damage. But, over the years some areas of skin are unable to cope with the repeated exposure to sun and an actinic keratosis can form. So, it is not a recent bout of sun-tanning that causes them but repeated minor sun damage to the skin over time.
People with fair skin who do not tan easily are most commonly affected, especially those with blue/green eyes and blonde/red hair. Because their skin has less protective pigment, these people are the most susceptible to sunburn and other forms of sun damage. Actinic keratoses can occur in people with darker skin but they are almost unheard of in black-skinned people.
As it usually takes years of sun exposure to develop an actinic keratosis, older people tend to be most commonly affected. Actinic keratoses are more common in those aged over 50 years. However, they may appear at a much earlier age in people who work outdoors (such as construction workers, farmers, etc), or who do a lot of sunbathing or use sunbeds frequently. In the UK, about 1 in 4 or 5 people over the age of 60 years have (or have had) actinic keratoses. It is much more common in places where the climate is sunnier – for example, Australia. They are more common in men, mainly because men are more likely to have outdoor occupations.
Actinic keratoses are more common in people who have a suppressed immune system, such as:
However, even in such people, they do not occur without exposure of the skin to the sun.
What happens to actinic keratoses?
Three things can happen to each actinic keratosis. This is important when considering treatment:
- The actinic keratosis may regress. This means it clears away on its own, without treatment.
- An actinic keratosis may persist. So, it remains, doesn’t change but doesn’t disappear either.
- It might progress into a skin cancer (see below).
Are actinic keratoses dangerous?
In themselves, actinic keratoses are not cancerous (malignant) and do no harm. However, they can sometimes be unsightly.
In people who have between seven and eight actinic keratoses on their skin, there is about a 1 in 10 chance that one will turn into a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over a 10-year period. This is not the most serious form of skin cancer (melanoma). It is a fairly slow-growing cancer and can usually be easily cured if treated early enough. This means that actinic keratosis can be seen as a possible precursor to cancer. See the separate leaflets called Skin Cancer – an Overview and Skin Cancer – Non-melanoma for more details.
Some actinic keratoses become cancerous because the UV exposure from the sun’s rays causes changes (mutations) to the genes in the DNA of skin cells. This causes skin cells to divide and grow abnormally, instead of just repairing damage. The abnormal cells tend to multiply in an out of control way – this causes a lump (tumour).
How are actinic keratoses diagnosed?
Your GP may be able to diagnose an actinic keratosis by its typical appearance alone. Sometimes this is difficult and, if doubt exists, you may be referred to a skin specialist (dermatologist). A dermatologist will examine the skin more closely, perhaps with a dermatoscope. This is a magnifier with a light that helps to distinguish between harmless (benign) skin lesions and cancerous (malignant) ones. Sometimes it is necessary to take a biopsy of the skin lesion. This means that a small sample of skin (a biopsy) is taken and examined under the microscope in a laboratory. A biopsy means that the cells in the skin can be seen and an accurate diagnosis can be confirmed.
What is the treatment for actinic keratoses?
No treatment may be an option
Without treatment, some actinic keratoses will disappear on their own. However, they can come back (recur) or you may develop new ones. If you only develop one, your doctor may advise that you leave it alone (provided it is not causing any symptoms). It may go away; however, see a doctor if you notice any change in the appearance or if it becomes tender. You may be advised to apply a moisturising (emollient) cream to help soften the skin around the actinic keratosis. You may also be advised to apply sun cream with a high sun protection factor (SPF). High-factor sunscreens also moisturise, but importantly they will prevent further sun damage to the skin (and hopefully prevent the development of further actinic keratoses).
If treatment is advised, there are several options. The method that your doctor advises depends on factors such as:
- The number of actinic keratoses that you have.
- Where they are.
- How big or thick they are.
- How big an area of skin is affected.
- Your health and your preferences.
Freezing an actinic keratosis with liquid nitrogen
Liquid nitrogen is a common treatment in people who have small numbers of actinic keratoses. It is also called cryotherapy or cryosurgery. Liquid nitrogen is so cold that it destroys tissue. An actinic keratosis can be easily sprayed with liquid nitrogen. It is destroyed and then falls off a few days later. A small scab is left and is gradually replaced by fresh healthy skin. Liquid nitrogen often causes the surrounding skin to blister for a few days. Sometimes this form of treatment can leave a white spot on the skin after treatment.
A cream or gel
Topical treatments (meaning you apply them to the skin) are useful if you have a lot of small actinic keratoses where you would otherwise need repeated freezing to get rid of them all. Creams, gels (water-based) and ointments (greasier) are available.
- One type of gel contains an anti-inflammatory medicine called diclofenac. Usually at least three months of treatment is needed. Side-effects may include itching and a rash.
- Another cream which is sometimes used contains a medicine called fluorouracil. This kills the abnormal cells and fresh normal skin grows back. This cream is usually applied for 3-4 weeks but it can cause significant (but temporary) inflammation, soreness and blistering of surrounding skin. Fluorouracil cream is often used if someone has several actinic keratoses.
- Imiquimod cream is an alternative. There are two strengths of imiquimod. One type (Aldara®) is applied three times per week for a month initially. After a four-week break, the response of the skin treated is reassessed. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat one further four-week course. The other type (Zyclara®) is applied once daily for two weeks, followed by a two-week break, and then once daily for a further two weeks. Imiquimod may also cause inflammation, irritation or redness of the skin where it is applied.
- Salicylic acid ointment is another cream that is sometimes used. It may be used alone or in a combination cream with fluorouracil, called Actikerall®.
Photodynamic therapy is an alternative to topical treatments. It is used in conjunction with a cream called methyl-5-aminolevulinate (Metvix®). This cream is sensitive to light (photosensitive). A special light is then focused on the area to be treated. The combination of the cream and the light helps to kill the abnormal cells. This form of treatment may be useful if there are a large number of actinic keratoses, or if the keratoses are around the eyes or where healing of the skin may be more difficult (such as the lower part of the leg). It may also be used if other treatments have not been successful.
An actinic keratosis may be cut or scraped off. This is usually done after numbing the skin with some local anaesthetic. Other treatments which are sometimes used can include laser surgery, chemical peels and dermabrasion (where skin surface is removed by abrasion).
Other risks if you have an actinic keratosis
If you have one or more actinic keratoses it is a marker that you have had a lot of sun exposure. The more serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, most commonly occurs in people who have had a lot of sun exposure. So, although an actinic keratosis does not progress into a melanoma, if you have an actinic keratosis, your risk of developing a melanoma on some other part of your skin is increased. So, tell a doctor soon if you notice any changes on any part of your skin, such as new moles, small dark patches developing, or a change in an existing mole. (For example, if it is getting bigger, has an irregular outline, or is bleeding or crusting.)
Can actinic keratoses be prevented?
If you spend a lot of time in the sun you have an increased risk of developing actinic keratoses and skin cancer. You will also prematurely age your skin and cause wrinkles.
To reduce the risk of developing skin cancers, actinic keratoses and other conditions associated with sun-damaged skin, we should all:
- Stay out of strong sunlight. In particular, avoid sun between 11 am and 3 pm.
- When out in the sun:
- Seek natural shade in the form of trees or other shelter.
- Wear clothes as a sunscreen, including T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against UVB and UVA.
- Reapply sunscreen regularly, particularly if you are swimming, or sweating a lot, or after towelling yourself dry.
- Use plenty of sunscreen. At the very least, six full teaspoons are needed to cover the body of an average adult.
It helps to examine your skin regularly. See your GP about any skin rashes, growths, lumps or bumps that do not heal within six weeks.
Common lumps and bumps on and under the skin: what are they?
As we age, the smooth skin of childhood gives way to all sorts of mysterious lumps and bumps. In a high-UV environment like Australia, we need to be very alert to the possibility of skin cancers. But most of the skin lumps we develop will be benign. Here are some of the most common, and how to tell them apart.
Moles, or naevi, are the most common skin lesions. They are formed by a cluster of melanocytes, the skin’s pigment-producing cells. They can be brown, black, pink, the same colour as the surrounding skin, or even blue if the melanocytes are clustered deep in the dermal (inner) layer of the skin. Most moles are flat but they can also be raised.
While some people have moles at birth, they usually begin to appear during childhood and keep developing through to your 40s, when they start to slowly disappear again. The number of moles you have is partly controlled by genetics, but is also influenced by your environment. Lots of sun exposure leads to more moles, and so can using certain medications, such as those that suppress your immune system.
Moles themselves are harmless, but around 25% of melanomas arise in an existing mole. Many more look like moles in their early stages.
It’s a good idea to get any new or changing mole checked by a doctor, who will usually examine the mole with a dermoscope, a hand-held microscope that uses polarised light to see just under the skin surface. If the lesion is asymmetrical, multi-coloured or has other signs of melanoma, the doctor will excise it for further testing.
A dermoscope helps your doctor see if your mole has hidden melanoma signs, or if it’s nothing to worry about.
Having many moles is the strongest predictor of a high melanoma risk, so people with many moles are often advised to have regular skin checks with a dermatologist. For the rest of us, self-examinations are recommended.
Seborrhoeic keratoses, sometimes inelegantly called senile warts or barnacles, are another common benign skin lesion. These are considered part of the normal skin ageing process.
These wart-like growths can begin to appear in your 30s and 40s. By the age of 60 around 90% of people will have at least one seborrhoeic keratosis. They can erupt suddenly after a sunburn or a bout of dermatitis, or gradually appear for no discernible reason.
If many itchy seborrhoeic keratoses erupt suddenly, it is occasionally a sign of an internal cancer. Very rarely, basal or squamous cell carcinomas arise within a pre-existing seborrhoeic keratosis. Seborrhoeic keratoses themselves are harmless, but can be prolific – some people have hundreds – and they increase in number as the years go by.
Some people develop lots of seborrhoeic keratoses, both big and small.
Seborrhoeic keratoses can be flat or raised, and often look as though they’ve been glued onto the skin instead of growing out of it. Their colour ranges from pale yellow to black. They can be waxy, warty or scaly, and anywhere between 1mm and several centimetres across.
Those that are dark and large can look alarming, but when seen under a dermoscope they usually have a characteristic brain-like or banksia-like appearance and are easily distinguished from skin cancers. If in doubt, your doctor will take a biopsy to investigate further, since a melanoma can occasionally simulate a seborrhoeic keratosis.
Seborrhoeic keratoses can be annoying if they snag on clothes or get in the way of your razor, and some people find them unsightly. In these cases they can be removed by freezing, cutting them off, burning, laser surgery, chemical peels or excision with scalpel or scissors.
This lesion looks alarming at first glance, but under a dermoscope it’s obvious by the banksia-like appearance that it’s a benign seborrhoeic keratosis.
A cyst is a round lesion made of a capsule filled with keratin (the structural material that makes up the outer layer of our skin), sebum (the oil from our skin), fluid or pus-like material. Firm or squishy to the touch, they are totally benign. At least 20% of adults will have a cyst of some sort in their life.
Sometimes cysts form when injured skin gets tucked in to form a pocket and the maturing and dying skin cells build up inside it. Other cysts are formed when epidermal cells, normally found on the surface of the skin, proliferate in the deeper dermis and fill up in a similar way.
Some cysts form when a hair follicle, sweat duct or mucous gland becomes blocked and fluid builds up behind the blockage. Ganglion cysts form when fluid from nearby joints leaks into a capsule under the skin. Several genes can make you more susceptible to forming cysts of various sorts.
An inflamed epidermal inclusion cyst.
Steven Fruitsmaak/Wikimedia Commons
The material inside a cyst can range from watery to soft-cheese-like, and can be odourless or smelly. A central pore may be visible on the cyst, but beware of trying to pop and drain the cyst yourself – it can become infected if you don’t clean it adequately.
Usually the only way to get rid of a cyst permanently is to surgically remove its encapsulating wall. If it is only drained of fluid, it will just fill up again.
Fortunately, a dermatologist can usually remove a cyst in a short procedure with a little local anaesthetic. This is demonstrated in the weirdly popular videos of Dr Pimple Popper (which, by the way, you might not want to watch at lunch).
Haemangiomas are another benign, usually painless skin lesion, formed from an excessive growth of blood vessels in the skin. They are usually firm lumps and can present as cherry angiomas, venous lakes or spider angiomas. Depending on how deep in the skin they are, they can be red, purple or even deep blue.
The author’s collection of cherry angiomas.
Cherry angiomas are round or oval, sharply defined, bright red bumps, usually less than half a centimetre wide. If found on the lip, they are called venous lakes.
Spider angiomas also have a tiny central red lump, but with red lines (capillaries) wriggling outwards like the legs of a spider. They usually appear on the face and upper body.
If many spider angiomas suddenly appear, it can be a sign of high oestrogen or poor liver function, but, as a rule, isolated spider angiomas are not a cause for worry.
Rarely, angiomas mimic amelanotic (non-pigmented) nodular melanomas. These need to be excised for further testing.
The rest don’t require treatment except for cosmetic reasons. In that case, the angioma can be frozen with liquid nitrogen, burnt off with electrosurgery, or treated with lasers.
Dermatofibromas are firm small nodules, which are sometimes itchy and might be mistaken for an insect bite. In fact, most probably they also evolve from some types of insect bites.
They are usually 1cm across or smaller, seem to be in the surface layer of the skin and, if you pinch one, a dimple will appear in it. On pale skin, they range from pink to light brown, and on darker skin from dark brown to black, and can be paler in the middle.
They are caused by a benign proliferation of fibroblast cells (the main cells in connective tissue), perhaps in response to a mild skin injury, but it’s not clear why this happens. The immune system seems to keep them in check, as several new dermatofibromas can appear when a person’s immune system is suppressed.
Like seborrhoeic keratoses, dermatofibromas are harmless but can be annoying. In this case, they are removed by simple surgical excision. If they are ulcerated, have recently become bigger or are unusually coloured, your doctor will excise them to check they aren’t melanomas or basal cell carcinomas.
Lipomas are not, strictly speaking, a skin lesion at all. Often appearing similar to cysts, lipomas are actually slow-growing tumours of fat cells surrounded by a fibrous capsule. They don’t actually grow in the skin, but in the subcutaneous layer underneath.
Two large lipomas on the back.
James Heilman, MD
Like cysts, they are very common and not malignant. Many people with lipomas have a family history of lipomas, so there’s probably a genetic cause. Some lipomas might arise after a blunt injury to the site, but the mechanism causing that is not well understood.
The egg or dome-shaped lipoma usually feels rubbery and moves around easily under the skin. This makes them easy to diagnose clinically, though doctors sometimes use a deep skin biopsy to be sure.
Most lipomas are not painful to touch, but they can grow as big as 10cm across and restrict movement of nearby muscles or joints. If that’s the case, or you are bothered by its appearance, lipoma can be treated by surgically removing the whole tumour, liposuction to drain the inside, or simple squeeze technique, where a doctor makes a small incision in the skin and squeezes out the fat tissue.
When to get it checked
Any lump, bump or lesion on your skin is worth showing to a doctor if it’s worrying you, but there are some red flags that should prompt you to make the appointment sooner rather than later.
A newly appeared mole or an existing mole that starts growing or changing colour should be checked. If the lesion bleeds very easily – at a touch – get it looked at as soon as possible. Painful lumps are another sign all is not right.
Is this your child’s symptom?
- Red or blistered skin from too much sun
- The redness, pain and swelling starts at 4 hours after being in the sun
- It peaks at 24 hours, and starts to get better after 48 hours
Severity of Sunburn
- Most sunburn is a first-degree burn that turns the skin pink or red.
- Prolonged sun exposure can cause blistering and a second-degree burn.
- Sunburn never causes a third-degree burn or scarring.
Causes of Sunburn
- Direct sun exposure. Warning: clouds don’t help. 70% of UV light still gets through on cloudy days.
- Reflected sun rays. From snow 80% is reflected, from sand 20%, from water only 5%.
- Tanning lamp or sun lamp.
- Tanning bed. A common cause in teens.
Ibuprofen to Reduce Pain and Other Symptoms
- Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction of the skin.
- Ibuprofen is a drug that can block this reaction. It can reduce the redness and swelling. But, it needs to be started early.
- Sunburns are sneaky. Many parents are surprised when their child gets a sunburn. Reason: there are no warning signs while the burn is occurring.
- Redness (sunburn) often is not seen until 4 hours after being in the sun. The pain and redness keep getting worse. They don’t peak for 24 to 36 hours.
- Lesson: if you think your child got too much sun, start ibuprofen then. Give it 3 times per day for 2 days. Don’t wait for redness.
When to Call for Sunburn
Call 911 Now
- Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Fever over 104° F (40° C)
- Can’t look at lights because of eye pain
- Fever and looks infected (spreading redness more than 48 hours after the sunburn)
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Sunburn pain is severe and not better after using care advice
- Large blisters (more than ½ inch or 12 mm)
- Many small blisters at the burn site
- Blisters on the face
- Swollen feet make it hard to walk
- Looks infected (draining pus, red streaks, worse pain after day 2) and no fever
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Itchy rashes in sun-exposed skin occur many times
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treating Mild Sunburn
- What You Should Know About Sunburns:
- Most sunburns do not blister.
- Most blisters can be treated without needing to see a doctor.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Ibuprofen for Pain:
- For pain relief, give an ibuprofen product (such as Advil). Start this as soon as you can.
- Give every 6-8 hours.
- Reason: If started within 6 hours, it can greatly limit the pain and swelling. Must give for 2 days.
- Caution: Not approved for age under 6 months.
- Steroid Cream for Pain:
- Use 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortaid) as soon as possible. No prescription is needed.
- Put it on 3 times per day.
- If used early and continued for 2 days, it may reduce swelling and pain.
- Use a moisturizing cream or aloe vera cream until you can get some.
- Use creams only. Avoid putting ointments on red skin. Reason: They can block the sweat glands.
- Burned skin can be very painful. Covering it with a cream can give great relief.
- Cool Baths for Pain:
- Use cool wet washcloths to the burned area. Do this several times a day to reduce pain and burning.
- For larger sunburns, give cool baths for 10 minutes. Caution: Avoid any chill. Can add 2 ounces (60 mL) baking soda per tub.
- Do not use soap on the sunburn.
- Fluids – Offer More:
- Offer extra water on the first day.
- This helps to replace the fluids lost into the sunburn.
- This will also help to prevent dehydration and dizziness.
- Blisters – Don’t Open:
- Caution: Leave closed blisters alone. Reason: To prevent infection.
- For broken blisters, trim off the dead skin. Use a fine scissors cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
- Antibiotic Ointment for Open Blisters:
- For any large open blisters, use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin). No prescription is needed.
- Remove it with warm water. Then, reapply it 2 times a day for 3 days.
- What to Expect:
- Pain stops after 2 or 3 days.
- Peeling occurs day 5-7.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Sunburn looks infected
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Fair-skinned children need a sunscreen with an SPF of 30. This is especially true if your child has red or blond hair.
- Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. This gives it time to get down into the skin. Give special attention to the areas most likely to become sunburned. Examples are the nose, ears, cheeks, and shoulders.
- Put sunscreen back on every 3 to 4 hours. Apply often while swimming or if sweating a lot. A “waterproof” sunscreen stays on for about 30 minutes in water.
- Most people use too little sunscreen. The average adult requires 1 ounce (30 mL) of sunscreen at a time.
- The best way to prevent skin cancer is to prevent sunburns.
- Infants and Sunscreens:
- The skin of infants is thinner than the skin of older children. It is more sensitive to the sun. Sunburns can occur quickly.
- Sun avoidance is best for children under 6 months. Stay in the shade.
- Sun avoidance or sun proof clothing are best for children 6 months to 3 years. If they have to be in the sun, use clothes that fully cover the arms and legs. Also, have your child wear a hat with a brim. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Use a stroller with a canopy.
- When a sunscreen is needed, infants can use adult sunscreens. The FDA hasn’t approved their use under 6 months old. However, the AAP supports their use at this age. There are no reported harmful side effects from today’s sunscreens.
- Protect Lips, Nose and Eyes:
- To prevent sunburned lips, apply a lip coating that contains sunscreen.
- If the nose or some other area has been burned often, protect it completely. Use zinc oxide or titanium oxide ointment.
- Protect your child’s eyes from the sun’s rays and cataracts with good sunglasses.
- High-Risk Children:
- Some children are at higher risk for sunburn. If your child has red or blond hair, he is at higher risk. Fair-skinned children and children who never tan are also at higher risk.
- These children need to use a sunscreen even for brief exposures.
- They should avoid sun exposure whenever possible.
- High-Risk Time of Day:
- Avoid exposure to the sun during the hours of 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This is when the sun’s rays are most intense.
- Caution: When overcast, over 70% of the sun’s rays still get through the clouds.
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 04/09/2021
Last Revised: 03/11/2021
Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
Polymorphic light eruption – NHS
Polymorphic light eruption is a fairly common skin rash triggered by exposure to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light.
Symptoms of polymorphic light eruption
An itchy or burning rash appears within hours, or up to 2 to 3 days after exposure to sunlight.
It lasts for up to 2 weeks, healing without scarring.
The rash usually appears on the parts of the skin exposed to sunlight, typically the head, neck, chest and arms.
The face is not always affected.
The rash can take many different forms (polymorphic):
- most people get crops of 2mm to 5mm pink or red raised spots
- some people get blisters that turn into larger, dry, red patches – it looks a bit like eczema
- less commonly, the skin patches look like targets or bull’s eyes (it looks a bit like erythema multiforme)
Polymorphic light eruption can be easily mistaken for prickly heat.
Prickly heat is caused by warm weather or overheating, rather than sunlight or UV light.
The skin in prickly heat does not “harden” or desensitise, as it can do in polymorphic light eruption.
Polymorphic light eruption is thought to affect about 10 to 15% of the UK population.
The rash may be a rare occurrence or may happen every time the skin is exposed to sunlight. It ranges from mild to severe.
Sometimes as little as 30 minutes of sun exposure is enough to cause the problem, and it can even develop through thin clothing or if you’re sitting near a window.
But for most people with polymorphic light eruption, the rash develops after several hours outside on a sunny day.
If further sun is avoided, the rash may settle and disappear without a trace within a couple of weeks.
It may or may not return when skin is re-exposed to sunlight.
If the skin is exposed to more sunlight before the rash has cleared up, it’ll probably get much worse and spread.
For many people with polymorphic skin eruption, the rash appears every spring and remains a problem throughout summer before settling down by autumn.
Polymorphic light eruption is more common in women than men.
It particularly affects people who are fair, although it can also affect those with dark skin.
It usually starts between the ages of 20 and 40, although it sometimes affects children.
Causes of polymorphic light eruption
Polymorphic light eruption is thought to be caused by UV light altering a substance in the skin, which the immune system reacts to, resulting in the skin becoming inflamed.
It can run in families. About a fifth of people with the condition have an affected relative.
It’s not infectious, so there’s no risk of catching polymorphic light eruption from another person.
Treatments for polymorphic light eruption
There’s no cure for polymorphic light eruption, but using sunscreens and careful avoidance of the sun will help you manage the rash.
Avoid the sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and wear protective clothing when outdoors (unless you’re hardening your skin).
Introduce your skin to sunlight gradually in the spring.
You may be prescribed sunscreens to help prevent the rash developing.
Use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or above with a good UVA rating. Apply sunscreen thickly and evenly reapplying often.
Steroid creams and ointments
Your GP can prescribe corticosteroid (steroid) cream or ointment that’s only applied when the rash appears.
You should apply it sparingly, as often as your GP advises, and never when there’s no rash.
Desensitisation or UV treatment
It’s sometimes possible to increase the resistance of your skin to the sun.
This involves visiting a hospital dermatology department 3 times a week for 4 to 6 weeks in the spring.
Your skin is gradually exposed to a little more UV light every visit to try to build up your skin’s resistance.
The effects of desensitisation are lost in the winter, so you’ll have to build up your resistance again in the spring.
Hardening or toughening
You may be able to increase the resistance of your skin at home.
This is known as “hardening” and involves going outside for short periods in the spring to build up your resistance.
You might find the time is as short as a few minutes at first, but you may be able to gradually build up to longer times.
You’ll have to be careful not to overdo it but, as you begin to understand more about how much light triggers your rash, you’ll be able to judge how long to stay out.
Like desensitisation, the effects of hardening are lost in the winter, so you’ll have to build up your resistance again in the spring.
People with polymorphic light eruption are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, as a certain amount of sun exposure is needed to make your own vitamin D.
Your GP will advise whether you need treatment with vitamin D supplements.
Many people with polymorphic light eruption find their skin improves over the years.
Your skin may harden (become more resistant to sunlight) during the summer, which means more sun can be tolerated without your skin reacting.
The rash may even eventually clear up on its own, although this is unusual.
Hardening of the skin does not always happen, and some people with very sensitive skin may even get the rash in the winter.
For these people, it may be a long-term condition to manage with lifestyle changes and creams.
Page last reviewed: 24 May 2018
Next review due: 24 May 2021
Heat rash, sun rash — what’s the difference?
Your skin sure does take the brunt of summer’s hot, humid and sunny weather.
Too much sun can cause a rash. Too much heat can cause a rash. But what’s the difference, how do you treat them and how do you avoid getting them?
Melinda Cooling, vice president of Advanced Practice Providers at OSF HealthCare and chief clinician executive for OSF Saint Gabriel Health, breaks it down for us.
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, often occurs during hot, humid weather. This rash usually appears in areas where the skin folds or areas where clothes causes friction like armpits, elbow creases, or the groin area.
“This type of rash often is not related to sun exposure but rather when blocked pores trap sweat under the skin,” Melinda said. “A patient may have small blisters or a deep lump that can feel prickly or itchy.”
Other than the hot humid weather, heat rash can develop due to:
- A lot of physical activity
- Illness with fever
- Tight or warm clothing
- Medicine patches that stick to the skin
“Most of the time, heat rash will resolve on its own by cooling the skin with cool compresses and avoiding exposure to the heat,” Melinda said.
Other treatment options may include:
- Using a gentle exfoliator in the bath or shower
- Corticosteroid cream or lotion to help reduce itching and inflammation
- Antibiotic cream or lotion if bacteria is part of the cause
- Drying powders
“If you would have increased pain, swelling, or redness around the affected area or a fever, it could be a sign of an infection and you should seek urgent care,” Melinda said.
Sometimes in the summer, to prevent heat rash may require changing clothes more frequently and keeping the skin cool and dry.
Other ways to prevent heat rash:
- Wear lightweight, loose clothing
- Wear fabric that lets air get to the skin, such as cotton
- Remove bandages or patches
Sun rash starts in areas where the skin is exposed to sunlight.
“It usually presents as a red, itchy rash that groups together and it can feel like it is burning,” Melinda said. “Normally it shows within hours of the sun exposure. If the burn is severe, some patients may feel nauseated or feverish.”
Most sun rashes will resolve on its own within 10-14 days, she said.
“Over-the-counter aloe vera or anti-itch ointments can be helpful. Cool compresses or a cool bath can provide itch relief,” Melinda said. “If you have blisters, keep them clean and dry to help to prevent infection.”
If you have increased pain, fever, swelling or redness, you may have an infection and should seek urgent care, she said.
“The key to sun rash is prevention by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and to reapply the sunscreen every two hours or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring,” Melinda said. “Protect your skin with clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is most intense.”
Seek urgent care
Whether you’re dealing with a heat rash or a sun rash and aren’t sure what to do, you can seek out urgent care at an OSF Urgo or OSF PromptCare clinic or go online and connect with a board-certified advanced practice provider at OSF OnCall.
90,000 Why sunburn is dangerous and how to recognize skin cancer in time
The deputy chief physician of the regional oncological dispensary, candidate of medical sciences, doctor of the highest category Sergey Sharov told about this.
– About 90 percent of malignant skin tumors are associated with excessive exposure to the sun …
– But, despite this, it is possible and necessary to be in the sun! Sunlight improves mood, thanks to it, our body produces a vitamin, or, according to modern science, hormone D.It participates in metabolic processes and prevents the development of cancer. Therefore, people who constantly hide from the sun often have health problems.
– So you need to look for a middle ground?
– Right. And follow simple rules – stay in the sun in the morning or evening. Before 10 am and after 5 pm. At a time when the sun is at its zenith and its ultraviolet radiation is at its most powerful, the skin needs to be protected.
– And how is it correct?
– Best protection – hat, goggles, umbrella, awning, long sleeves, etc.And only if for some reason this is not available to you, sunscreens come to the rescue. But keep in mind that the creams do not reduce the risk of developing malignant skin tumors – such a conclusion was made by German colleagues during their research. Yes, they protect the skin from sunburn, but no more. But the right clothes reduce the risk of developing malignant tumors.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 180 thousand people have been registered with oncologists in the Krasnodar Territory, of which 34 thousand are with malignant skin tumors.
– What are the risks of sunburn?
– A burn is an injury that does not go away without a trace. Cancer does not occur in one or two days, it is a very long, multi-stage process. In order for a malignant cell to arise from a healthy cell, a repeated change in its genetic internal structure must occur. Sometimes it lasts for decades.
– How do you feel about a solarium?
– Negatively.We live in the era of evidence-based medicine, our American colleagues have conducted studies that have shown that if young people under the age of 30 are banned from visiting tanning salons, then melanoma will decrease by 15 percent.
Don’t wait for the whistle
– What types of skin cancer are there?
– One of the most insidious varieties is skin melanoma. It is not so common, but, unfortunately, it is very difficult to treat.There are basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. They are, shall we say, less evil, but most of them are in our region.
– What are the statistics?
– Basal cell carcinoma is registered in our country about four thousand new cases per year, melanoma – 550. At the same time, we have recently noted an increase in this disease among the young population. Although, generally speaking, the peak of all oncological diseases occurs at the age of 60–65 years.
– Is the number of patients growing in the region?
– Unfortunately yes.And this is typical not only for our country, but for the whole world. What are the reasons? Life expectancy increases, and the longer it is, the more patients “live to see their cancer”. Neoplasms are the lot of old age, when the immune system is weakened. In addition, diagnostics has improved – we can recognize diseases in the early stages – with the help of tomographs, ultrasound machines.
– So age doesn’t matter?
– As for skin melanoma, yes.This is the second disease, after lung cancer, which gives the largest increase in young patients. Typically, these are residents of rural areas exposed to chronic sun exposure. Therefore, people whose professions are associated with prolonged exposure to the sun are obliged to take care of their health and not work without clothes.
– How to recognize early skin cancer?
– Attention should be paid if the mole: more than six millimeters in diameter, asymmetrical, with ragged edges and uneven color, began to darken quickly, lighten, or hair began to fall out on it.And also there are some sensations in the neoplasm itself: discomfort, itching, burning. Each of these symptoms is a reason to see a doctor. Do not self-medicate! The sooner the specialist finds the optimal treatment for you, the faster you will return to a normal, fulfilling life.
– Which doctor should I run to?
– Not immediately to the oncologist. Each clinic has an examination room. There are doctors who have undergone special training in oncological dispensaries.If they suspect a malignant neoplasm, the patient will be referred to an oncologist. In addition, you can contact a dermatologist at the clinic.
Also in the Kuban, various preventive and diagnostic events are being held with the support of the Krasnodar Territory Administration and the Regional Ministry of Health. Don’t be afraid to see a doctor.
Give the steak to the enemy
– Does stress contribute to cancer?
– Unfortunately yes.With a normally functioning immune system, the body sees a malignant cell and destroys it. The tumor does not develop. If the immune system fails, then this cell becomes uncovered, it is not destroyed and begins to develop and grow. Then branches break off from this tumor – metastases that spread throughout the body. Stress, especially chronic stress, leads to a weakening of the immune system. And it can indirectly provoke the development of malignant tumors.
– Broccoli is considered by many to be the killer of cancer cells.Do you recommend it to your patients?
– According to the World Health Organization, unhealthy diet is the number one cause of malignant neoplasms. Of all the cuisines in the world, Japanese is considered the most correct. It contains a large amount of seafood and at the same time little meat. In second place is the Mediterranean. For many northern peoples, who feed exclusively on what is in the ocean or sea, cases of cancer are nonsense.Therefore, a large amount of vegetables, including broccoli, will reduce the likelihood of tumor formation.
– What other factors contribute to the development of cancer?
– In second place is smoking. This is not only lung cancer, but also a large number of other pathologies. In third place is the bad environment. Therefore, remember: your health is in your hands. And we, doctors, are always happy to help you and make you healthy.
Why are sunburns dangerous? We are talking about skin cancer
Video: Kuban news
All about malignant neoplasms of the skin – Rossiyskaya Gazeta
Skin tumors are those types of cancer that are not only common, but also literally “on the surface”: they are most often seen with the naked eye. Minimal knowledge plus attention to your health will help you notice in time negative changes on the skin, which in the future can lead to the formation of a malignant tumor, and take action. To understand this problem “RG” was helped by the oncologist of the N.N. Blokhin Igor Samoylenko.
What neoplasms are on the skin and what causes them?
Igor Samoylenko: Skin tumors are the most common tumors that are detected when examining the skin.The vast majority are benign neoplasms that occur in both children and adults. These are moles or nevi, both congenital and appearing during life. They do not pose any danger, do not harm, and in most cases they do not require treatment.
There are other benign neoplasms that appear later, as a person grows older. Most of them are associated with the action of ultraviolet radiation and the damage it causes to the skin.
Photocarcinogenesis is a major factor in the emergence of many skin tumors, both benign and malignant.Moreover, it can be natural ultraviolet (solar radiation), and artificial ultraviolet. Many, for example, like to “gold” themselves in a solarium, without thinking about the effect of UV rays on the skin. Finally, there are people who, by virtue of their profession, are forced to work with ultraviolet light, other types of radiation, for example, X-ray laboratory assistants, radiologists. And if safety rules are violated, then this work becomes dangerous for them.
I will also name another cause of tumors – chemical carcinogenesis, exposure to the skin of aggressive substances, such as arsenic.This mainly concerns a small number of specialists – workers in chemical production. They know they are at risk. Workers in hazardous industries are regularly checked, their health must be monitored by a shop doctor. But this still applies to a very small proportion of people.
But ultraviolet light still creates massive risks. And our irrepressible love of tanning.
How does skin damage occur and when does it become dangerous?
Igor Samoilenko: If we talk about massive cases, the skin is most damaged by natural ultraviolet light – the sun, as well as sunburn.It would seem, well, what’s so terrible? They did not go into the shade in time, burned out in the sun – it ached and passed away. But we do not take into account the cumulative effect of the sun on the skin. Therefore, the older a person is, the higher the chance of identifying some kind of skin tumor, both benign and malignant.
Benign formations are keratomas, papillomatous nevi. They do not do much harm, except that they are aesthetically unpleasant. They are usually handled by cosmetologists, dermatologists. These skin defects are not directly related to the risk of developing cancer.But there is one important point. It lies in the fact that the presence of keratomas and other benign formations can be a marker of solar damage.
Therefore, if you have a lot of such formations on your skin, it means that it has already received a large dose of ultraviolet radiation. This must be borne in mind.
Does this mean you need to be careful?
Igor Samoylenko: I will say this: “Take care of your dress again.” The same keratosis should not at all push you towards emergency prevention, to stop being in the sun altogether, to wear open clothes.
But to start observing yourself, go to a dermatologist – you need to look if there are any malignant formations on your skin among other benign ones. Because the reasons are essentially the same – an excess of ultraviolet radiation.
So, keratoma, those dark spots that appear with age on the arms and back in very many, if not all, are not a harbinger of cancer?
Igor Samoilenko: This is one of the myths that a keratoma can turn into cancer.This is not true. This only means that both diseases have the same cause. But in one case, a harmless keratoma occurs, in another case – a tumor. But I repeat, a keratoma acts as a kind of marker that should prompt us to be examined.
What are the most common types of skin cancer?
Igor Samoilenko: The top 3 most common malignant skin tumors are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and skin melanoma, which is considered the most dangerous in terms of early metastasis.
Early diagnosis of melanoma is a key task of the national health service in different countries. All types of skin cancer, including melanoma, are preventable diseases that can be detected early and effectively treated.
I, in fact, formulated three basic principles of anti-cancer fight. The first is to prevent. There are cancers that are preventable, others are for unknown reasons and difficult to prevent. Melanoma is a preventable tumor.It is enough to take into account the risk of exposure to the skin of excess ultraviolet radiation in order to reduce the risk of getting sick.
As for the second principle – early detection, it is extremely important. And again, in relation to melanoma, I declare: “We can detect it early.” This is an absolutely accessible disease for timely detection.
Finally, the third positive factor is a curable disease. Moreover, with the development of various methods of treatment, it is curable at different stages of its development, both early and not very early.
How to distinguish unsafe changes on the skin from harmless ones, when you need not to hesitate and go to the doctor – “RG” will tell about this in the next publication of the project.
Tumors and neoplasms of the skin in Chelyabinsk
Description of benign, precancerous and malignant neoplasms with images.
Request: pregnant women and people with an unstable psyche to refrain from watching !!!
Tumors or neoplasms of the skin are divided into three main groups: benign, precancerous, and malignant.
Benign tumors usually grow slowly, have clear boundaries and even staining. The growth of formations is not combined with the appearance of pain and inflammation. There are no changes in the surrounding skin and regional lymph nodes.
Fibroma – most often it is a smooth single seal with clear boundaries, the skin above it is not changed, it may be slightly pigmented.The tumor sometimes develops in the form of a node up to several centimeters. With a large tumor, the skin becomes reddish-brown. It mainly occurs in young people, more often in women than in men. Any mechanical injury can provoke their inflammation, as a result of which a bleeding ulcer may appear.
Papilloma – is a rounded formation, rather soft to the touch, on a pedicle or broad base.It consists of papillae and visually resembles a cauliflower, a bunch of grapes or a scallop in miniature. The color ranges from flesh to brown. The size can vary from 0.2 to 10 mm. It may be solitary, but over time, the number of tumors may increase. The most common places of localization are the face, neck, armpits, groin area.
Hemangioma – is a congenital or acquired vascular tumor that can occur in people of completely different ages, but most often in children.It is determined on the skin in the form of a soft formation that disappears and changes color when pressed. Depending on the depth of the vessels, there are several varieties: flat, stellate, branched. The color of the tumor varies from pink to dark cherry. With a deep location of the formation, the staining of the skin does not differ from the surrounding tissues.
Lymphangioma – congenital tumor, which consists of lymphatic vessels welded together.Looks like “bloating” due to hypertrophy of the affected tissues. The color of the skin above it does not differ in color and temperature from normal. Lymph may drain from the nodule-like swellings. There is a pronounced tendency to slow growth, infiltration of surrounding tissues and structures, including: bones, trachea, lungs, and other vital organs.
Pigmented nevi (moles) – Limited, usually solitary pigmented spots, sometimes somewhat elevated above the level of the skin.They usually appear in the first days or years of life (smooth nevi), sometimes reach large sizes (giant congenital pigmented nevus), are penetrated with hair (hairy nevus) or have a warty folded surface (pigmented warty nevus).
Borderline (precancerous) skin tumors:
Keratoma – for the most part these are benign formations, formed mainly after 45-50 years.Precancerous keratoma is considered a pre-cancerous one, which appears in the elderly. It is formed from a small speck of pale brown color, dense in texture, the surface of which may slightly peel off.
Xeroderma – is a hereditary skin disease that manifests itself in early childhood (up to 5 years) and progresses throughout life. This is a borderline precancerous tumor caused by an increased sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet radiation.Signs of different stages are: tissue atrophy, uneven pigmentation. With this disease, cartilage tissue is also affected, which is strongly deformed more often in areas such as the nasal passages, auricles. Prevention: avoid sun exposure.
Cutaneous horn – neoplasm, most often formed in old age. It is an elevation above the surface of the skin, which has a different length and cylinder shape.Consists of horny masses. Primary is called a type of cutaneous horn, which occurs suddenly, for no reason. A secondary disease can manifest itself against the background of some kind of chronic inflammatory process, as well as other neoplasms, such as warts, moles.
All these types of neoplasms require removal, or, if it is technically impossible, careful monitoring, medical supervision for degeneration into malignant tumors.
Malignant skin tumors are characterized by invasive growth, frequent metastasis, in advanced cases, they have a poor prognosis:
Malignant skin tumors include:
Melanoma – is one of the most dangerous human malignant tumors, often recurrent and metastatic lymphogenous and hematogenous in almost all organs.
Risk factors and causes:
- phenotype – white skin, light (blue) eyes, blonde hair and pink freckles.
- a history of sunburn. Moreover, even those of them (burns) that were received in childhood, adolescence and adolescence can play a fatal role in the development of a tumor in subsequent years.
- heredity – family history of melanoma.
- Factor of multiplicity of nevi (more than 50) increases the risk of developing melanoma.
- xeroderma pigmentosa.
- previously transferred melanoma.
- are over 50 years old.
As melanoma cells continue to produce melanin, the color of the tumor is brown or black. In some cases, melanoma is pink, yellowish, or white in color. Melanoma can affect any part of the skin. In men, the swelling often occurs on the trunk (chest and back). In women, the lower extremities are more often affected. Melanoma often occurs on the face and neck. Dark skin reduces the risk of developing melanoma in these areas.In these cases, swelling can occur on the feet, palms, or under the nails. Melanoma can also affect other organs such as the mouth, eyes and vagina, but is less common than skin melanoma.
Melanoma occurs both on unchanged skin and on the background of existing skin formations.
Characteristic changes in the area of existing education may indicate a malignant degeneration of the tumor . These include:
- Itching sensation in the area of the tumor.
- Hair loss from its surface.
- Color change.
- Increase in size.
- Change of shape.
- Disappearance of striated skin.
- Bleeding from its surface.
If such changes are detected, an urgent need to consult a doctor!
Basalioma (basal cell carcinoma) – neoplasm that affects the basal layer of the skin.The factors contributing to the formation of a tumor are: genetic predisposition, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation, ionizing radiation, as well as benzene, coal and tobacco tar, toluene. Basalioma is localized in open areas of the body: in the face, shoulders, back. The tumor is often accompanied by the formation of erosions and ulcers. The neoplasm has a predominantly local-destroying growth and very rarely does not give metastases. Initially, a painless nodule appears on the skin, which ulcerates and becomes covered with a crust.Gradually, over several months or years, the nodule grows in breadth, accompanied by the formation of ulcers. The tumor becomes lobular, telangiectasias appear on its surface. Over time, the basalioma turns into a large (over 10 cm) flat plaque with a scaly surface, a mushroom node protruding above the surface of the skin, or into a deep ulcer that destroys the underlying muscle tissue and bones.
Squamous cell carcinoma – An epithelial tumor that can disintegrate, resulting in ulceration of the skin.The early form is characterized by the appearance of a red plaque with small scales. The cause is UV radiation, carcinogens, some types of human papillomavirus infection. It is more common in older people anywhere on the skin, however, it is most common in the upper face, lower lip, back of the hands, and mucous membranes. Squamous cell carcinoma is prone to metastases. In 6% of cases, metastases can affect the nearest lymph nodes. In areas of regional metastasis (in the groin, armpit, neck), dense, painless, movable nodes may appear.Later, they lose mobility, become painful, and grow together with the skin. Also, in rare cases, with squamous cell carcinoma, the lungs and bones are affected.
Squamous cell carcinoma starts from an ulcer, nodule, or plaque.
- In the ulcerative form of squamous cell carcinoma, sharply raised roller-like edges surrounding the ulcer around the entire perimeter are characteristic. The ulcer itself is shaped like a crater. From the focus, bloody discharge is observed, an unpleasant odor is characteristic.The neoplasm progresses rapidly, increasing in width and depth.
- Squamous cell carcinoma node looks like a cauliflower. Its base is wide and the surface is bumpy. The color of the neoplasm varies from red to brown. The knot itself is tight. Erosion and ulcers are frequent on the surface. Nodular squamous cell carcinoma progresses rapidly.
- Squamous cell carcinoma in the form of a plaque is characterized by its red color, bleeding and the presence of small tubercles on the surface.Plaque consistency is dense. The tumor spreads quickly, first affecting the surface of the skin, and then deeper tissues.
Kaposi’s sarcoma – is a malignant disease that develops from the cells of the inner lining of blood vessels. The exact causes are unknown, it is possible that the disease is associated with an oncogenic virus. It begins with the appearance of purple papules, usually on the lower extremities. They progress rather quickly and become multiple.Such foci begin to darken and thicken. They often ulcerate. If the disease is detected at an early stage, then the nodes are still quite soft.
Paget’s disease – precancerous dermatosis. It looks like an inflamed, red-colored patch on the skin (like in dermatitis). Swelling develops from the glands located under the skin. Often emanates from the ducts of the mammary glands, then, as a rule, forms around the nipple. Paget cancer can also present as a red, oozing, crusty plaque in the groin or around the anus; swelling can come from nearby sweat glands.
Caution: tanning! Victim’s Confession – BBC News Russian Service
For many years, Laura Mae McMullen used tanning beds and sunbathed in the southern sun. All this ended with a terrible diagnosis: skin cancer. The love of tanning has become life-threatening.
I got hooked on tanning like a drug addict gets hooked on a needle.
To be “me” meant to be tanned. If the sunburn went away, I started to get nervous that I was losing myself.I know it’s stupid, but that’s how it was.
Tanning gave me confidence. You know, like a glass of a tonic drink: it creates a good mood and adds health.
In fact, this fix idea almost killed me.
I don’t know how it started: all my school years I was pale-skinned. I have no bad habits. But somehow I suddenly believed in the power of tanning salons, in the fact that they can correct a bad mood. Yes, besides, I heard that serotonin, or the so-called “hormone of happiness,” seems to be produced just when the body is exposed to sunlight.
Photo author, AFP
At the age of 16, Laura began using tanning beds every day.
I started using tanning beds when I was 16. First, once a week, then twice, and finally every day. This habit just entered flesh and blood.
My parents tried to get through to me somehow, they said that I was ruining my skin, but I refused to think about the consequences. Tanning salons have been a constant part of my life for 10 years: I used them in beauty salons and even rented them home.
There is no one to blame for what happened. Yes, I myself am to blame for everything. But, on the other hand, no one warned me about the real danger. Over the years, not a single beauty salon employee has ever told me what all this can lead to, has not informed me about safe levels of ultraviolet radiation, and I have not noticed brochures with useful information of this kind either.
True, most of my friends understood perfectly well what danger I was putting myself in, and honestly tried to warn me.
Besides, I have become a constant object of jokes. Every time before the vacation I was asked: “Well, what color will you come back this time?” I always answered the same: “Mahogany colors!”
Photo by BBC World Service
The purpose of the tan was to be the color of “mahogany”
I blossomed in the sun: it seemed to me that all the clouds above my head were dissipating, that a heavy load was falling from my shoulders, and self-confidence jumped to unprecedented heights.
It is quite obvious that at some point I got used to tanning, and my natural “pale color” did not suit me anymore.
As a result, the tanning bed and the annual six weeks that I spent in the hot sun while on vacation almost caused my untimely death.
However, I stopped using tanning salons earlier – when I noticed that they had deepened wrinkles. At the same time, it never even occurred to me that a passion for sunburn could end with skin cancer, and even one of the most dangerous: malignant melanoma.
This was the most difficult period of my life. I am very glad that I got out, and now I am trying to warn others not to follow my path.
On February 5, 2014, my life changed forever. My future husband and I spent a two week vacation in the Canary Islands. On the fifth day, returning from the beach, we just sat on the balcony with a cold drink and got ready to enjoy life.
Photo author, BBC World Service
After the operation, with sunburn
And just at this wonderful moment, a message came to the phone with a request to immediately contact a dermatologist.The same dermatologist who a month ago did a biopsy of a small red spot that somehow suddenly appeared on my leg.
To tell the truth, I was not worried at all. Having found a small bump, I immediately decided that it was a bite mark of some insect. In principle, my therapist, and even a dermatologist, to whom I was referred “just in case”, agreed with me.
I remember well how, standing in the middle of a hotel room, I heard the fatal words in the receiver: “I’m sorry, but this is melanoma.”At that moment, I had no idea what it was, but from the intonations of the doctor, my heart sank somewhere into my stomach.
I was shocked, but on the other hand, I used to always count on the best. I just had to sincerely believe that everything would be okay with me: I was treated by some of the best melanoma specialists in the world, and I was treated by excellent doctors.
A year ago, at the end of February, I had a tumor removed on my leg. I then asked for a sentinel lymph node biopsy to see if the cancer had spread further.It has spread. I had to remove all the lymph nodes on the right side of the groin and some of the pelvis.
Photo author, Getty Images
Malignant melanoma occurs in pigment-producing cells
On June 4th, a week after my last surgery, I was told that there was no more melanoma in my body. I hugged the doctor and thought: “Well, that’s all, you can live on.” Probably, I should have jumped and jumped for joy, but just at that moment I was overwhelmed by fear: maybe there is something else wrong with me? “
Anyone who is diagnosed with cancer knows that this disease is not limited to one part of the body: it penetrates into all corners of the life of the patient himself and his loved ones.I lost all confidence. I was afraid to be alone even for one minute. At times I could not walk, I could not take a bath, I could not drive a car. For several weeks I moved around with a drainage tube sticking out of my leg, and had to give myself injections to avoid blood clots.
But the most terrible thoughts were about the future: what will become of my fiancé and my mother after my death? Will I still be alive in six months to celebrate another birthday? Will I live to see Christmas? As a result, I became depressed.For example, in a few months I haven’t bought myself a single new thing.
To other delights, a lymphedema has formed in the operated leg. This is a kind of swelling of soft tissues that occurs when the lymph nodes are removed. But this is nonsense, after all, you can live with a swollen leg. True, it should be massaged twice a day, wearing elastic stockings and avoiding mosquito bites. And I had to forget about epilation.
Photo by BBC World Service
Now Laura does not go out into the sun without first applying sunscreen
I would not wish the worst enemy to go through all the pain, excitement and mental trauma that I had to go through and my loved ones, and only because I wanted to be tanned!
Of course, now people know more about the dangers of tanning, but I’m sure most people still think: “Well, this is definitely not going to happen to me!” There are still about 3,000 tanning salons in beauty salons across the country, with only 20 percent of them following the rules of the Association of Tanning Salons.I wonder what happens in the other 80 percent?
A tan is not worth it. Especially if you, like me, have pale skin from birth, and you burn easily in the sun. While we were filming a documentary with BBC reporters, I managed to convince a young woman named Jess to stop using tanning beds.
Jess is a lot like me: tanning gave her confidence, and she never once thought about the consequences. At 19, Jess used tanning beds three times a week for four years.Moreover, she did not have to pay for them, since she worked in a tanning salon.
Finding a small red bump on my leg, I waited another three months before going to the doctor. I am horrified to think what might have happened if I had pulled even longer. I tell everyone and everyone: if you have a mole that suddenly changes color or shape, or begins to grow, or even something new jumps up on your body, please do not postpone the visit to the doctor! Don’t bury your head in the sand! The sooner you discover problems, the better your chances of a happy outcome.
Thoughts that melanoma may come back haunt me every day, but I force myself to hide them deeper.
Photo author, Getty Images
Few think that tanning can be deadly
I even got so brave that I went abroad again. At first, I was just scared, but then my confidence gradually returned. True, now, half an hour before leaving the house, I smear myself from head to toe with sunscreen with a protection factor of 50! Honestly, who cares how I look?
I absolutely avoid the midday sun and sit in the shade.I even take a self-tanner with me. I can still be mahogany, only now it’s a bottle tan.
I used to think that without a tan I am not me at all.
This feeling cannot be said to be completely gone. It’s not easy for me to come to terms with how I look now. But cosmetics are now enough to achieve a “healthy blush”.
Never, under any circumstances, will I sit in the sun. I had to come to terms with the fact that I am who I am: with pale skin.
How tanning came into fashion
Photo author, BBC World Service
Coco Chanel is said to have introduced the fashion for tanning
- For centuries, white leather has been in fashion. She demonstrated that her owner came from a good family, and she did not need to work in the scorching rays of the sun.
- In the 17th century, “interesting pallor” was achieved with special whitewash made from ground chalk, lead powder, egg white and vinegar.
- The famous Coco Chanel started the fashion for tanning when she was accidentally sunburned in the sun during a Mediterranean cruise in Cannes in 1923.
- Perfumer Jean Pitu created the first tanning cream in 1927 under the name Huile de Chaldee.
Rules for the use of tanning salons
Photo author, AFP
Only 20 percent of tanning salons in UK beauty salons are governed by rules
In Britain, health and safety experts warn that any exposure to ultraviolet rays can harm the body, especially if you have:
- light, sensitive skin that burns easily in the sun, and tans too slowly or poorly
- in the past you have often sunburned, especially in childhood
- a large number of freckles and / or redhead hair color
- a large number of moles
- taking medication or using creams that increase the sensitivity of the skin to the sun’s rays
- a medical problem that is aggravated by the sun’s rays
- anyone in your family has been diagnosed with skin cancer
- the skin has already been damaged by salt rays
Melanoma – a tumor of the young! – KGBUZ “Oncological dispensary” of the Ministry of Health of the Khabarovsk Territory (g.Komsomolsk-on-Amur)
Melanoma is a tumor of young people!
Melanoma is a malignant skin tumor that develops from cells of the epidermal (upper) layer of the skin – melanocytes. It can appear both from a long-standing birthmark and on unchanged skin. It may look like a wart, have a pink color, or appear on the mucous membrane of the mouth, intestines, stomach.
The incidence of malignant skin tumors is growing steadily and accounts for 25% of all malignant tumors, ranking 3rd in the incidence of cancer among the population of our country.Especially, there has been an increase in the incidence in young people under 30 years of age. Melanoma kills 37,000 people worldwide every year!
The increase in morbidity is undoubtedly associated with the fashion for a tanned body. But tanning on the beach, especially during the hours of maximum sun activity, and even more so in a solarium, is dangerous! The World Health Organization has equated tanning salons in terms of harmfulness to alcohol and tobacco. Short-term high-dose exposures that you receive in tanning beds are more dangerous for the development of melanoma than low-dose repeated exposures that you receive on the beach before 10 am and after 4 pm.The fact is that usually skin cells are renewed every 24 hours. Under the influence of ultraviolet rays, they begin to divide much faster – every 6 hours, which is fraught with the appearance of tumors. Also, ultraviolet rays damage DNA cells, which leads to their mutation.
It has been proven that sunbathing in a solarium increases your risk of melanoma by 75%. Especially, the risk is high in young people under the age of 30 and in pregnant women who are contraindicated in any form of tanning. In some countries it is possible to sunbathe in a solarium only after the age of 18, i.e.because the skin of children and adolescents is more sensitive. Tanning in a solarium is not only a risk of developing melanoma, but also premature aging of the skin. And this is well understood by celebrities who have long been using autobronzers (means for “instant tanning”) and their tan is not from a solarium, but from a tube. If you think these arguments are unconvincing and do not want to give up tanning in a solarium, then do it wisely. Namely, no more than 2 times a month, and while in the cabin, you should not experience unpleasant sensations (burning, tingling) on your skin.Be sure to consult your doctor. Do not go to the tanning salon if you have the 1st or 2nd skin phototype (white skin with freckles, light or red hair, blue or gray eyes), 50 or more moles on the body, there have been cases of melanoma in relatives, if you are taking hormonal drugs.
So, the risk of melanoma is high if:
- You cannot live without a tan.
- Your mole has been injured. Almost every third patient in the past had an injury with the development of melanoma from a nevus.Nevi of the feet, hands, scalp, neck, belt (in men) and bra (in women) are prone to injury.
- There are a large (more than 50) number of nevi on your skin, especially those located on open parts of the body.
- You have white skin, freckles, blonde hair and eyes.
- One or more close relatives suffered from melanoma. Depending on the number of sick relatives, the risk can be increased up to 8 times.
- You have had severe blistering sunburn, especially during childhood or adolescence.
- You are a man. Men are more likely to develop melanoma than women. Moreover, every third melanoma in men is localized on the back.
- You are 20-30 years old or over 50. Melanoma is one of the most common tumors in people younger than 30 years old. Almost half of all melanomas are diagnosed in people over 50 years of age. The highest incidence in Russia is observed at the age of 75 – 84 years.
- You are receiving drugs that suppress the immune system.
Nevi (moles) can be present from the birth of a child and appear throughout life.They can be flat or raised, rounded or oval, brown, yellow-brown or black in color and about 6 mm in size. If a mole appears, then it usually remains the same size, shape and color for many years.
What does a reborn (malignant) mole look like?
- The mole begins to grow rapidly.
- Its color changes in the direction of strengthening or weakening, white, pink, gray, black inclusions appear.
- She begins to ulcerate, bleed, redness appears in the area of the nevus.
- Edges become irregular jagged.
- Itching or burning appears in the area of the nevus.
- The hair that covered the nevus suddenly falls out.
- The mole begins to rise (grow up).
- Nevus asymmetry appears (if you divide the nevus into 2 halves, they should be symmetrical).
If you find that your mole has begun to change or you have a suspicious formation on previously unchanged skin, immediately contact your oncologist or dermatologist!
The final diagnosis can be made after removal of the formation only in a specialized oncological institution.Be prudent! Do not remove moles or any skin lesions without consulting an oncologist or an experienced dermatologist in questionable clinics and beauty parlors.
Taking material for examination by scraping (when your mole is scraped) in case of suspicion of melanoma is unacceptable and dangerous!
Now there is a new special method for diagnosing melanoma – this is dermatoscopy. In fact, a dermatoscope is a microscope that allows you to view a nevus at high magnification.A modern device takes pictures of the nevus and then a special program compares the image with the existing images of melanoma.
Why is melanoma dangerous? How can a little mole kill?
Melanoma is dangerous because it often and willingly metastasizes. First, metastases appear in the nearest lymph nodes, the appearance of large (cobblestone-sized) subcutaneous metastases is also possible, and in the end it is often multiple metastases to the liver, lungs, intestines, bones, and the brain.It is also dangerous because neglected forms of the disease are very difficult to treat, and in our country, these forms account for about 90% of cases. The early stages of melanoma are curable and you are able to prevent your own tragedy or the tragedy of your loved ones. Be more attentive and do not be afraid to see a doctor, even with a minor mole!
Can melanoma be prevented?
The most important way to reduce the risk of melanoma is to reduce the time spent in intense sunlight (from 10 to 16 hours).
It is possible to recommend staying in the shade, wearing clothes made of dense light-colored fabric. Use protective creams that need to be applied to unprotected areas of the skin 20-30 minutes before going outside, the skin treatment must be repeated every 2 hours. These products do not prevent melanoma, they only reduce the intensity of UV exposure.
Wear sunglasses, they protect almost 100% of the eyes and the skin around them from the sun’s rays.
Avoid tanning salons!
Protect children from the sun.They spend a lot of time outdoors and their skin burns easily.
Examine your skin monthly. You need to examine your entire body, including your palms, soles, scalp, ears, back, genitals. Know all of your moles, freckles and birthmarks. Better take a picture of them, put them on your computer and create an archive!
90,000 Skin Cancer: Disease Treatment | Clinic Rassvet
Skin cancer is a group of malignant tumors of the epithelium of the skin and its appendages, sebaceous and sweat glands.
These tumors are the most common cancer in the world. More than 89 thousand cases of skin cancer were registered in the Russian Federation in 2017.
What are the causes of skin cancer?
The most common cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight.
About 90% of skin cancers, excluding melanoma, are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Therefore, most often exposed areas of the skin are affected, which are exposed to greater insolation.The prevalence is greatest among outdoor workers, athletes and sunbathers and is inversely related to the melanin content of the skin. So patients with fair skin are most at risk.
Skin cancer is characterized by development against the background of various pathological conditions. Skin cancer often occurs against the background of burns, rough scars, in places of chronic injury. Malignant skin tumors can also develop years after radiation therapy.Patients who are taking immunosuppressive therapies and certain types of targeted therapies also have an increased risk of developing the disease.
It should be noted that the risk of skin cancer increases with age.
Types of skin cancer
The most common are basal cell (about 80%) and squamous (about 4%) skin cancers. In third place is skin melanoma (about 4%). Melanoma of the skin has a number of specific features of the course of the disease and treatment, therefore, it is considered separately.Also, Bowen’s disease should be distinguished separately – superficial squamous cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma, which is referred to as a highly differentiated form of squamous cell carcinoma.
Rarer types of skin cancer include Merkel’s carcinoma, cancer of the sweat or sebaceous glands, Paget’s disease, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and T-cell lymphoma of the skin (fungal mycosis).
How to detect a tumor at an early stage?
To detect early forms of skin cancer, everyone is advised to have a head-to-toe skin examination once a month.
The technique of self-examination of the skin can be found here (.docx, 104 Kb).
To improve the effectiveness of this procedure at the Rassvet clinic, we will help you to conduct a skin examination. The doctor will do a full body exam to make sure any spots, freckles, or moles that are present are normal and do not require treatment. If necessary, the doctor will conduct a dermatoscopy, check the skin with a special instrument under magnification, which makes it possible to identify tumor processes invisible to the naked eye.If there are indications, a treatment program will be drawn up for you or a follow-up period will be determined.
After the first few attempts, the self-check should take no more than 10 minutes – a small investment in what can be a lifesaver!
Important: Skin cancer is easily treatable in its early stages. The larger the tumor, the more voluminous the treatment is. Although skin cancers rarely spread to vital organs, they can cause severe deformities and sometimes injure nerves or muscles.Some rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if not addressed early.
How to conduct a self-examination and what to look for?
Below we list the symptoms that are common in skin cancer. Most often, two or more symptoms are present with a malignant tumor.
- Non-healing wound. An open wound that bleeds, sows, or crusts without healing for more than 2 weeks despite treatment.A wound that heals and then bleeds again. A non-healing wound is a very common symptom of skin cancer.
- Presence of a persistent reddish spot or local irritation , which is more common on the face, chest, shoulders, arms, or legs. Sometimes the stain is crusted. Also, the stain may itch or hurt, or be present without discomfort.
- The appearance of a tubercle or knot. The color is often pearlescent or light, often with a pink, red tint.The bump can also be brown, black, especially in the dark-haired population, it can be confused with a common nevus (birthmark).
- Formation of pink color with a slightly raised, submerged border and a depression in the center. As it grows slowly, tiny blood vessels may appear on the surface.
- A scar-like area, white, yellow, or waxy, often poorly defined. The skin itself looks shiny and firm.This warning sign may indicate the presence of infiltrative growth in the surrounding tissue when the true size of the tumor is larger than the visible border.
If you find any of these signs or other alarming changes in your skin, be sure to see your doctor!
Important: Remember that sometimes early skin cancers resemble non-cancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Only a doctor with specialized knowledge of skin diseases and the necessary equipment can make the correct diagnosis.
Diagnosis of skin cancer
Diagnosis of skin cancer, in addition to the standard examination of the skin and the lesion, if necessary with a dermatoscopy, consists of the following procedures:
- Cytological examination of smears, prints or scrapings from the neoplasm.
- In the absence of convincing clinical and cytological data, a biopsy of the tumor is performed (removal of part of the tumor or complete removal for examination).
- Palpation of the skin in the area of tumor localization, palpation of regional lymph nodes. Ultrasound examination of regional lymph nodes.
- If there are enlarged regional lymph nodes, a fine-needle puncture (aspiration) biopsy is performed.
- For large tumors, radiation diagnostic methods are used – (CT or MRI of the affected area with IV contrast to assess the prevalence of the process).
- In some cases, if a widespread tumor process is suspected, additional examination of the thoracic and abdominal organs with the use of ultrasound, CT and MRI techniques may be required.
Skin cancer treatment
Treatment is carried out taking into account the stage of the process, the localization of the tumor, its histological structure. Radiation, surgical, medicinal methods are used alone or in the form of combined and complex treatment.
In the surgical treatment of small skin tumors, scars are usually cosmetically acceptable. If the tumors are very large, a skin graft or flap is used for repair to achieve the best cosmetic result and facilitate healing.
Radiation therapy and surgery are alternative treatments for stage I skin cancer. This takes into account contraindications to surgery, a high degree of operational risk and tumor localization.
Recommendations of the oncologist at the Rassvet clinic for skin cancer
In the Oncology Department of the Rassvet Clinic, the entire spectrum of diagnostics of tumor lesions of the skin is carried out, including biopsy and modern pathomorphological diagnostics. In the surgical department of minor oncology, it is possible to carry out surgical treatment with the use of various types of plastic defect replacement.
We also work in partnership with a radiation therapy center, which allows us to carry out modern radiation therapy techniques.
With a widespread process, it is possible to carry out modern chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Treatment can be carried out even for very debilitated patients, and our team of specialists provides all the necessary accompanying therapy.
Additional recommendations of the doctor of the clinic Dawn for the prevention of skin cancer
Since many forms of skin cancer are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation, a number of measures are recommended to reduce it:
- Use sunscreen.Ultraviolet radiation is a proven human carcinogen. Regular daily use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer by about 40%.
- Use sunscreens with a wide range of UVA / UVB protection and should be applied as directed (30 minutes before sun exposure, reapply every 2 hours after swimming or sweating).
- Wear protective clothing: long-sleeved shirts, trousers and wide-brimmed hats.
- Avoid visiting solariums. Those who have ever sunbathed indoors have a 67% higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma and 29% higher risk of basal cell skin cancer.
Symptoms of skin cancer and methods of its diagnosis
The terrible word “cancer” is familiar even to people far from medicine. It is generally accepted that this term is synonymous with imminent inevitable death, because everyone has heard tragic stories from the lives of celebrities or acquaintances who have been diagnosed with such a diagnosis.Various malignant neoplasms of the skin were diagnosed in Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Wolverine), Khloe Kardashian (American television person, participant in the reality show “The Kardashian Family), the well-known father of Yeralash continues to fight for life with metastases of melanoma -“ It turned out that a big illness has grown from a small mole, ”sighs Grachevsky. From the consequences of the development of a skin tumor died: Bob Marley (Jamaican musician, guitarist), winner of the Miss Universe 2006 contest – Russian model Anna Litvinova.In 2012, Anna was diagnosed with melanoma, she went to Germany for treatment, where she died about a year later, on January 22, 2013, at the age of 31.
However, cancer can be defeated if it is detected at an early stage and if qualified medical help is sought. Therefore, let’s talk about one of the most common cancers in Russia – malignant neoplasms of the skin, which rank second in prevalence among all malignant neoplasms in women (after breast cancer) and third in men (after lung and prostate cancer).
The situation in Russia remains alarming: often patients simply ignore the first symptoms of skin cancer and go to the hospital with an advanced stage of the tumor, when there can be no guarantee of recovery. So at the 4th stage of melanoma – the most malignant neoplasm of the skin, even with proper treatment, only half of 10 patients live longer than 5 years. But unlike cancer of internal organs, malignant skin tumors are always in sight.
Causes of skin cancer
The appearance of any malignant neoplasm is a consequence of a malfunction in the body: normally, the immune system destroys defective cells before they begin to divide uncontrollably.If, for some reason, the defense mechanisms do not work, the tumor grows in size and becomes invulnerable to its own defense system. In the case of skin cancer, the most dangerous environmental factors that increase the likelihood of tumor development are ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, as well as exposure to harsh chemicals.
Experts note that malignant neoplasms of the skin, in particular melanoma, are often provoked by visiting a solarium: the fashion for bronze tanning has led to a significant increase in the incidence of malignant neoplasms (in the United States, for this reason, more than 170 thousand cases are diagnosed annually).“… White-skinned Anya always tried to follow fashion, she, like many now, visited tanning salons, loved to travel to exotic countries where there is a lot of sun,” recalls Anna Litvinova’s friend, Ksenia Volkova.
Symptoms and signs of skin cancer
Any type of malignant tumors first manifests itself locally – at the site of the lesion, and then, if untreated, affects the patient’s well-being as a whole. In the case of skin cancer, the relationship between local and general symptoms is in favor of local symptoms: until the later stages of the disease, others may not suspect that a person is sick.Local symptoms of skin cancer are visible to the naked eye: it can be a wound that does not heal for several weeks or months, a spot that gradually increases in size, or a mole that has changed its shape or color. Depending on the type of tumor, the growth of the neoplasm is slow or fast, but in any case, the change in the skin progresses. In the affected area, itching, pain, bleeding or peeling are often observed, such complaints should alert not only the patient, but also his family – it is strongly discouraged to postpone a visit to the doctor in such cases.
Types, stages and prognosis
Malignant neoplasms of the skin include several cancers at once, with different origins, specific symptoms and prognosis. Tumors such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and melanoma are statistically diagnosed more often than others, but there are also rarer variants. Only a dermatologist oncologist can reliably establish a diagnosis.
Basalioma (basal cell skin cancer) is the most common type of skin cancer that develops from epidermal cells.At first, the tumor looks like a small pink nodule, under the surface of which a network of blood vessels is visible. As it grows, the neoplasm can ulcerate and bleed, a crust appears on the surface for no apparent reason, which can pass, but then reappears. Most often, basalioma occurs on the skin of the face, less often on other areas of the skin. Usually, the disease develops slowly and does not give metastases, therefore, the prognosis for patients is favorable, and treatment includes only removal of the tumor.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can have several clinical variants, in one case it can be presented, as well as basal cell carcinoma – a single node with a bleeding ulcer or crust on the surface, a long-term non-healing ulcer or local keratosis, resembling a “cutaneous horn”.Squamous cell carcinoma is often located on the red border of the lips, open areas of the skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation. This cancer is capable of invasive growth and metastasis – i.e. penetrates into the deep layers of the skin and is transported with the blood flow through the body to other organs and tissues.
Melanoma is a tumor that develops from pigmented skin cells – melanocytes. As a rule, it develops at the site of moles, which are an accumulation of pigment, or appears on their own.
When melanoma progresses, it is prone to rapid aggressive growth and is able to form metastases (distant tumors). However, before the beginning of invasive growth, it usually takes several years until melanoma grows within the epidermis (the uppermost layer of the skin) – the “stage of horizontal growth” and treatment, which consists in removing the tumor, at this moment almost completely eliminates the risk of the formation of distant metastases and development formidable complications for life. That is why it is so important to monitor the appearance of moles: if one of them has changed its shape, color, or looks swollen, itches or bleeds, an urgent need to consult a doctor.
On the contrary, in the older age group, nodular or nodular melanoma is more often formed, which practically does not have a stage of intraepidermal growth and quickly becomes invasive, therefore it is also very important to monitor the appearance of new dark nodular neoplasms on the skin of our elderly relatives and friends.
People who have been diagnosed with cancer are always interested in the prognosis of the course of the disease. “Doctor, how long will I live?” Is a popular question in the practice of oncologists.If we are talking about skin cancer, the prospects for recovery in most cases are good, because the most common tumor, basal cell carcinoma, does not metastasize, and a small surgical intervention is enough to eliminate it. The key parameter in oncology is the survival rate. He talks about, for example, how many patients with this stage of cancer were able to live more than 5 years after the tumor was detected. So, with basal cell carcinoma, the survival rate approaches 100%, regardless of the size of the neoplasm.And with stage 2 melanoma, only 50% of patients step over the 5-year line even with proper treatment.
Physicians specializing in the diagnosis of skin cancer have an impressive arsenal of diagnostic techniques to confirm or deny the diagnosis, and also to classify the tumor. Examination is the most obvious and simplest way to suspect a neoplasm. If you are worried that you are developing skin cancer, show the unusual area to the doctor.He will compare a suspicious mole or sore to other pigment cell clusters. If there are grounds for concern, the doctor will prescribe additional diagnostic methods. For a more accurate diagnosis, oncologists-dermatologists use a dermatoscope – a device that allows you to see the structure of a neoplasm in detail, in polarized light.