Skin Cancer. If you can Spot it, you can Stop it. Part 1

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Skin Cancer

Cancer is a scary thing, especially when you can see it on your skin.

Our skin is our largest organ, it protects our insides from the outside, regulates our temperature, excretes waste and lets us feel our surroundings.

Our skin is also a good delivery method for some medications since the digestive tract is avoided.

We get most of our vitamin D from the sun through our skin. When ultraviolet (UVB) rays from the sun reaches our skin, a chemical response takes place turning a pro-hormone into the previtamin D3 which is processed in our liver. The kidneys then turn it into the active form of vitamin D our bodies need. Vitamin D is necessary to for our bodies to absorb calcium.

The UVB rays that are necessary for our survival, are the same rays from the sun that causes skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells damaged most often from ultraviolet rays from the sun.

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Types of Skin Cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are non-melanoma skin cancers and are the easiest to cure with early detection, but if allowed progress can result in disfigurement or death.

Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas start in the epidermis (top layer) of skin. Both are usually found in areas that are most exposed to the sun like your face, neck, hands, arms or legs. The only way to tell the difference is with a biopsy, since they look similar.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of all skin cancers. It is slow growing and usually does not spread to more than the surrounding tissues.

Squamous cell carcinoma is also slow growing, but has more of a tendency to spread to surrounding tissue and the blood stream to your lymph nodes.

They may start out as a small, pale, waxy, lump, or a red firm lump that may bleed or crust over. Any sore that doesn’t heal within a few weeks should be looked at by a doctor.

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Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer and thankfully the rarest. Melanoma forms in the pigment cells called melancytes and can be found in areas that are not exposed to the suns UVB rays. Often found on the face, torso and legs. Melanoma is fast growing and can metastasize, spread to other areas of the body or organs through the blood stream and lymph system.

Melanoma is often found by a change in the size, shape, color or feel of an existing mole. A new, black or abnormal looking mole. It may be flat or raised and may not hurt.

Skin Cancer Self Exam

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The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you inspect your skin, once a month from head to toe.

This self examination will alert you if you find any new or changing lesions, spots, freckles or moles. Using the A, B, C, D, and E chart above to spot suspicious spots.

You will need a bright light, a full length mirror and a hand held mirror, two chairs, a body map and a pencil.

[visit http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/body-map to download a body map.]

Melanoma Stages and Treatment

If the biopsy of a tumor finds it to be cancerous, the stage it is in will determine the treatment.

Tumors in situ are not yet invasive and often times will be removed with the initial biopsy.

Tumors in stages 1 and 2 may become invasive to surrounding tissue and can be up to 4mm thick with or without ulcerating.

Surgery and radiation are the best treatment options.

Stage 3 the cancer cells have entered the blood stream and traveled to the lymph nodes.

Stage 4 the cancer has metastasized (spread) to other organs usually the lungs, liver and brain.

Treatment for these stages includes lymph node removal, radiation and immunotherapy.

Immunotheraphy uses high doses of biologic antibodies, interferons and interleukins already present in our bodies to stimulate the immune system and kill the cancer.
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Other than cancer, our skin can exhibit beginning growths, and pre cancerous spots. Most are benign, like pimples, warts, skin tags and liver spots and don’t require treatment unless they start changing.

Once you are diagnosed with skin cancer, the chances of it reoccurring are significant.

Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are usually small enough to be frozen off with liquid nitrogen or Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is the surgical removal of microscopic layers of the skin cancer site. Each layer is frozen and examined for the presence of cancer cells. Layers are dissected and examined until no more cancer is found.

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info Root. Sharon has what appears to be a basal cell carcinoma on the side of her forehead. I was wondering if you have heard of any canna treatments that have been effective for this?

  2. Hi Trailanimal. If you suspect Sharon has skin cancer get it checked out by a doctor. It is impossible to tell by looking at a suspicious spot whether it is basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.
    There are natural treatments, but I can’t stress enough for you to see a doctor and get a biopsy.
    Even though basal cells and squamous cells usually grow slow, when they are cancerous they can grow fast and eventually grow roots.
    Basal cells grow latterly and when cancerous can affect a large area of skin.
    Cancerous squamous cells can grow roots through the basal layer and get into the lymph system, where it can spread throughout the body.
    When I was waiting for a biopsy, a poultice of eggplant and vinegar seemed to be toxic to the cancer, but harmed healthy cells too. As were most of the other treatments I researched.
    I then used a cannabis based salve that did seem to target the cancer without harming the healthy skin, but it worked slowly.
    You need to get a biopsy to know what you are treating.

    • Thanks for the input Root. I’m pretty sure it’s cancerous, and of the lateral moving type. She has been taking turmeric root powder with black pepper, dandelion root powder, lots of spirulina, not at the same time, lol. The growth is no longer bubbly oozy spready, no longer growing. Been this way for months. My grow goal this year is lots, enough to make and use oils. For us to go to docs for much other than a bone set(which can be done 200 miles away) just isn’t happening, for a few reasons. The logistics to the city are daunting in time space and money. Actually financially impossible even for one tip to the city. And, and this is a big “and”, she was in the hospital in Anchorage in 2000 for 3 weeks after being in a coma for 3 days, after crashing her sno-go, TBI. She says, “never again.” She wishes I just picked her up off the ice and took her back to camp. Actually, all the hospital did was subject her to a bunch of x-rays, the head thing took care of itself. She feels the stress of it all isn’t worth it, at peace and loving it, a long and adventuresome life and she’s where she wants to be, home.

  3. I have Squamous cell carcinoma. They have been hacking away at me for years. I am a child from an era, where golden blonde hair and a deep tan, meant the picture of health. My ancestry is mostly Nordic. I stopped the tradition treat of removal and chemo cream after they wanted to take a large chunk of my face. I did a lot of research and made my own topical oil and keep my system in an alkaline state. The lesion on my face is gone. My DR. can’t believe it. Thank you for the article.

    • Cheers Kat.
      Root is a Survivor too.
      If you would like to post your story and steps you used for your recovery..let us know.
      We use the PH Plan in our treatment too.
      Check out the med section.

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