The three most common types of skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Each are named after the type of skin cell from which it arises. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common and curable types of skin cancer. Melanoma is less common, but the most serious, and is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer related deaths.
Skin cancers are most often caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. These UV rays destroy the genetic material (DNA) in the skin cells, causing severe tissue damage and cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of the three forms of skin cancer. Overexposure to strong sunlight is the major factor. It rarely spreads elsewhere in the body or kills. Although, it is still considered malignant because it can cause substantial disfigurement and destruction by invading surrounding tissue.
The first sign of basal cell carcinoma is a large pearly looking lump usually occurring on the face near the eyes or nose. The lump then becomes an ulcer with a raw, moist center and a hard border that may bleed. Scabs continually form over the ulcer. The scabs come off, but the ulcer never heals.
In squamous cell carcinoma, the underlying skin cells are damaged. This leads to the development of a tumor or lump under the skin. The ears, face, hands and lower lip are affected in most cases. The lump may resemble a wart or an ulceration that never heals. Detected early enough, treatment is effective.
Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can be cured if discovered and treated early. With this form of skin cancer, a tumor occurs from the pigment producing cells of the deeper layers of the skin. It often begins as a lesion that looks like a mole.
Most moles appear early in life, so be aware of new moles that appear after the age of 40. Also be aware of any mole that appears unusual; changes in size, color or texture. They should be looked at right away by a dermatologist.
Warning Signs Of Skin Cancer
1. A skin growth that increases in size and/or appears pearly, translucent, brown, tan, black or multicolored.
2. A mole, birthmark or beauty mark that changes color, grows in size or thickness, changes in texture or becomes irregular in outline.
3. A spot or growth that hurts, itches, crusts, scabs over, erodes or bleeds.
Manufacturers are now incorporating vitamins A, C, D and E in sunscreen to help protect the skin. Many nutritionists and holistic doctors recommend oral supplements of all the antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals created by ultraviolet radiation; as well as by oxidation within the body, that can harm DNA and both internal and external cells.
Coenzyme Q10 improves cellular oxygenation. Take 100 milligrams daily.
Evening primrose oil for cellular protection. Take 2 capsules before meals.
Selenium is a powerful free radical scavenger. Take 50 – 200 micrograms daily.
Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Take 25,000 – 50,000 IU daily. Taking an extra vitamin A before an expected outing helps prevent the temporary night blindness that often follows exposure to extremely bright lights.
Vitamin B complex – the B vitamins are necessary for normal cell division and function. Take 100 milligrams daily.
Vitamin C plus bioflavonoids is powerful anti-cancer agent. Take 1,5000 – 5,000 milligrams daily in divided doses to help prevent pigment clumping and skin sags by strengthening the supportive collagen.
Vitamin D. Sunscreens as low as SPF 8 block the body’s formation of natural vitamin D from sunlight on the bare skin. Take 400 IU daily, if not provided by fortified milk or a daily multivitamin.
Vitamin E. In a study, participants taking 200 IU of vitamin E each day for a year reduced their free radical level by 26 percent.
Herbal Nutrition Supplements
Gotu kola contains compounds which have an excellent reputation in supporting skin health, increasing the concentration of antioxidants and maintaining healthy blood supply to the affected area. Available in capsule form, follow packaging directions.
Marigold (Calendula officinalis) is one of the best and most well known herbs for skin health. It helps to maintain healthy skin and tissue health. It is available as a cream to be applied topically. Follow packaging directions.
Chaparral is a bitter herb that acts as a free radical scavenger and protects the skin from the harmful effects of radiation and sun exposure. Available in capsule form, follow packaging directions.