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Definition of the skin

Definition of the skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body and consists of two main layers, themselves divided into several sub-layers. The surface layer is called the epidermis, the innermost layer composed of fabric is called the dermis.

The epidermis consists of a stack of cells called "keratinocytes" which are spherical in the lower part of the epidermis ("basal keratinocytes") and flatter in the upper layers (squamous cells).

The skin also contains small specialized structures such as nerves, hair, nails and various types of glands. Melanocytes, which produce a dark pigment called melanin, are located in the basal layer of the epidermis.

In cancer progression

The skin cancer is a cancer on the increase and sun exposure, use sun lamps ... are diagnosed about 60,000 skin cancer each year (the vast majority being carcinomas).

Different types of skin cancer

The skin is constantly under stress, both external infectious agents or irritants, and internal to the effects of certain biological processes.

Anomalies that can cause these attacks are often benign. Sometimes, however, they are malignant. When malignant, they can take the form of one of the three main types of skin cancer that can be distinguished depending on the cells involved:

Squamous cell carcinoma (also called squamous cell carcinoma), squamous cell cancer

Basal cell carcinoma, basal cell cancer

Melanoma, cancer developed at the expense of melanocytes

Causes of skin cancer

The risk factor most important in the onset of skin cancer is excessive exposure to the sun with intermittent sunburn.

When this becomes excessive exposure varies depending on skin type and the phenotype of the individual.

People who have fair skin conducive to sunburn, freckles, blue eyes and blond or red hair have a much higher risk of developing melanoma than others.

The presence of skin nevi in ​​large numbers and atypical aspect is also a risk factor.

Symptoms and signs of skin cancer

Although usually benign, while symptoms or signs of growth or sore that does not heal should be reported to the doctor because of a risk of cancer.

Skin cancer can take different forms. It can be in the form of a small bump pale, whitish, which eventually bleed and make a crust that keeps coming up, or a plate red, dry, scaly, but also in many other symptoms. The tumor may be very small initially and become very large.

Melanoma may appear suddenly on the skin as an irregular black spot or black knot.

It can also begin in or near a existing nevus which has recently transformed (increased in size or changed color, for example).

ABCDE by a simple rule may help to remember important signs of melanoma:

A: Asymmetry

One half is unlike the other.

B: Ragged edges

The edges are ragged, blurred or notched.

C: Color

Pigmentation is not uniform. There are different shades of tan, brown and black, white, red and blue mottled appearance can contribute to.

D: Diameter

Any sudden increase in size or persistent should especially attract attention.

E: Evolution

Changes in appearance: shape, size, thickness, color.

If you have a fear, dermatologists organize every year a day of free detection.

Treatment of skin cancer

Surgery remains the primary treatment of melanoma and carcinoma. The doctor removes the tumor to be analyzed by a pathologist to determine the size, thickness and the degree of depth.

In a second time, the doctor complete excision depending on the thickness by removing a portion of healthy tissue around the tumor: this is called a "reversal of removal."

If during the clinical examination and staging the doctor noted the presence of lymph nodes, we carry out a dissection to detect any cancer cells.

In addition, treatment with immunotherapy will activate the patient's immune defenses to destroy cancer cells.

For some locations of cancers of the skin, or when the tumor is inaccessible to surgery, the doctor may prescribe radiotherapy treatment.

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