How Serious Is A Squamous Cell Carcinoma Topic Guide
- The stresses and physiological changes caused by cancer and its treatments are almost a perfect recipe for insomnia. Drug side effects, stress and anxiety, physical pain and discomfort, oddly timed hospital routines and other factors may all contribute to insomnia in cancer patients.
What Is Cancer Fatigue
Fatigue is often confused with tiredness. Tiredness happens to everyone — it’s a feeling you expect after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually, you know why you are tired and a good night’s sleep solves the problem.
Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its treatment. It is not predictable by tumor type, treatment, or stage of illness. Usually, it comes on suddenly, does not result from activity or exertion, and is not relieved by rest or sleep. It is often described as “paralyzing” and may continue even after treatment is complete.
Signs That Your Cancer Has Spread
Melanoma can spread to other parts of your body, including your lymph nodes, brain, liver, and lungs. Your symptoms can give clues to where the cancer has spread.
Cancer that has spread beyond the original part of your body where it began is called metastatic cancer. General symptoms of metastatic skin cancer can include:
Recommended Reading: Supplements For Post Viral Fatigue
Skin Cancer Rash: How To Assess Symptoms Similar To A Skin Rash Caused By Cancer
Whether caused by sunbathing or an allergic reaction, skin rashes may arise from a huge variety of conditions. However, certain rashes may indicate skin cancer, and being aware of potentially cancerous signs may help you get treatment quickly if needed.
In this article, well describe a few rashes to look out for and recommend when to seek medical attention. Helpful insights about skin cancer rash symptoms and types are provided below.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can show up on the skin in many ways. Also known as BCC, this skin cancer tends to grow slowly and can be mistaken for a harmless pimple, scar, or sore.
Common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma
This skin cancer often develops on the head or neck and looks like a shiny, raised, and round growth.
To help you spot BCC before it grows deep into your skin, dermatologists share these 7 warning signs that could be easily missed.
If you find any of the following signs on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist.
A Rapidly Changing Treatment Landscape
Starting in 2011, two new types of drugs started to change the treatment landscape for metastatic melanoma.
One was a group of targeted therapies called BRAF inhibitors and MEK inhibitors. The BRAF and MEK proteins are both part of a cell signaling pathway that commonly drives the growth of melanoma. The other was a type of immunotherapy called immune checkpoint inhibitors, which encourage the bodys own immune system to attack cancer cells.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved the immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab , the first drug to improve how long people with metastatic melanoma lived.
And in a very short amount of time since then, more than 10 drugs have been approved , which have now been shown to improve overall survival in a very meaningful way, said Dr. Olszanski.
Both BRAF and MEK inhibitors, which are typically used in combination, and immunotherapies can cause dramatic and sometimes long-lasting tumor responses in some people with advanced melanoma. However, the overall impact of these drugs on survival in people with melanoma was not clear.
Because more than 90% of melanomas occur in white men and women, the researchers only had enough data to analyze these groups.
But from 2013 to 2016, the trends in mortality reversed. Overall, the melanoma mortality rate declined by 17.9% during the 4-year period. The reduction in deaths was seen in nearly every age group, but was greatest in men aged 50 and older.
Cancer Signals In Both Men And Women
Appetite loss. Many conditions, from depression to the flu, can make you feel less hungry. Cancer can have this effect by changing your metabolism, the way your body turns food into energy.
Stomach, pancreatic, colon, and ovarian cancers also can put pressure on your stomach and make you feel too full to eat.
Blood in the stool. Cancers can bleed, but so can a bunch of other things, like ulcers, hemorrhoids, infections, or a sore. When you see red in your poop, the blood is often from somewhere in your GI tract, meaning your esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
One way to tell where the blood is coming from is by how light or dark it looks. Bright red could mean the bleeding is in your rectum or the end of your intestines. A darker color means it may be from higher up, like a stomach ulcer.
No matter what the cause, blood in your stool needs to be checked out. You may need a colonoscopy or other tests to find the problem.
Blood in the urine. When it shows up in your pee, blood could be a warning sign of a problem in your urinary tract. Kidney or bladder cancer can cause this symptom, but it could also be due to an infection, kidney stones, or kidney disease.
Cough that doesn’t go away. A cold or the flu can make you hack away, but it’s also a potential symptom of lung cancer, along with red flags like chest pain, weight loss, hoarseness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. See your doctor if you can’t seem to shake it, especially if you’re a smoker.
You May Like: How To Battle Fatigue Naturally
Cancer Symptoms In Women
Breast lump or change. Although it’s a hallmark symptom of breast cancer, most lumps aren’t cancer. They’re often fluid-filled cysts or noncancerous tumors.
Still, see your doctor right away if you find any new or changing growths in your breasts, just to make sure.
Also get these changes checked out:
- Redness or scaling of the skin over the breast
- Breast pain
- Lump under your arm
- Fluid that isn’t breast milk leaking from the nipple
Bleeding between periods or after menopause. Bleeding from the vagina during women’s reproductive years is usually theirÃ monthly period. When it happens after menopause or outside of normal periods, cervical or endometrial cancer is a possibility. Call your doctor if you have any bleeding that’s unusual for you.
Genetic Mutations In People With High Numbers Of Skin Cancers
To do the study, the researchers looked at 61 people who were treated at Stanford Hospital and Clinics for a higher-than-average number of basal cell carcinomas: an average of 11 diagnoses per person during a 10-year period:
- about 75% of the people in the study were men
- the average age was about 69
- about 97% of the people were of European descent
The researchers collected saliva samples from each person in the study and performed genetic testing to look for mutations in 29 genes that help repair DNA damage. Mutations in these genes are linked to many other types of cancer.
The researchers found that 19.7% of the people in the study had mutations in 12 DNA repair genes, including:
In comparison, about 3% of people in the average population have mutations in those genes.
We found that about 20 percent of the people with frequent basal cell carcinomas have a mutation in one of the genes responsible for repairing DNA damage, versus about 3 percent of the general population. Thats shockingly high, said Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford and senior author of the study.
Mutations in the BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, MSH6, NBN, and PALB2 genes are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
When looking at the cancer history of the people in the study, the researchers found that 34.4% had a personal history of another cancer besides basal cell carcinoma, including:
You May Like: Can You Survive Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer
Recommended Reading: Does Crohn’s Disease Cause Fatigue
Blood When You Use The Bathroom
If you see blood in the toilet after you go, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Bloody stool is likely to come from swollen, inflamed veins called hemorrhoids, but there’s a chance it could be colon cancer. Blood in your pee could be a problem like a urinary tract infection, but it may be kidney or bladder cancer.
How Fertility Might Be Affected
For women: Talk to your cancer care team about how radiation might affect your fertility . Its best to do this before starting treatment so you are aware of possible risks to your fertility.
Depending on the radiation dose, women getting radiation therapy in the pelvic area sometimes stop having menstrual periods and have other symptoms of menopause. Report these symptoms to your cancer care and ask them how to relieve these side effects.Sometimes menstrual periods will return when radiation therapy is over, but sometimes they do not.
See Fertility and Women With Cancer to learn more.
For men: Radiation therapy to an area that includes the testicles can reduce both the number of sperm and their ability to function. If you want to father a child in the future and are concerned about reduced fertility, talk to your cancer care team before starting treatment. One option may be to bank your sperm ahead of time.
See Fertility and Men With Cancer to learn more.
Recommended Reading: Fatigue And Chronic Kidney Disease
Different Kinds Of Skin Cancer
There are many types of skin cancer. Some are very rare. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have.
The two most common kinds of skin cancers are:
- Basal cell cancer, which starts in the lowest layer of the skin
- Squamous cell cancer, which starts in the top layer of the skin
Another kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. These cancers start from the color-making cells of the skin . You can read about melanoma in If You Have Melanoma Skin Cancer.
More Pictures Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
While the above pictures show you some common ways that BCC can appear on the skin, this skin cancer can show up in other ways, as the following pictures illustrate.
Scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center
On the trunk, BCC may look like a scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center and a slightly raised border, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can be lighter in some areas and darker in others
While BCC tends to be one color, it can be lighter in some areas and darker in others, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can be brown in color
Most BCCs are red or pink however, this skin cancer can be brown, as shown here.
Basal cell carcinoma can look like a group of shiny bumps
BCC can look like a group of small, shiny bumps that feel smooth to the touch.
Basal cell carcinoma can look like a wart or a sore
The BCC on this patients lower eyelid looks like a wart* in one area and a sore** in another area.
If you see a spot or growth on your skin that looks like any of the above or one that is growing or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist.
Recommended Reading: How Fast Can Melanoma Spread
Recommended Reading: What Causes Severe Fatigue And Weakness
See A Suspicious Spot See A Dermatologist
If you find a spot on your skin that could be skin cancer, its time to see a dermatologist. Found early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Often a dermatologist can treat an early skin cancer by removing the cancer and a bit of normal-looking skin.
Given time to grow, treatment for skin cancer becomes more difficult.
Leaving Basal Cell Carcinoma Untreated
Basal cell carcinoma is a slow growing cancer, but this doesnt mean it can be ignored. This is the least dangerous form of skin cancer and rarely spreads to other internal parts of the body. While death is a rare consequence there is the potential for disfigurement. Over time basal cell carcinoma can expand and cause ulcers and damage the skin and tissues.
Any damage could be permanent and have an impact on the way you look. Depending on how long the basal cell carcinoma has been present, radiotherapy may be required. This is the most common form of skin cancer and is often found on the face. You may notice a small lump which is shiny or pearl like and this is a sign you should get checked. This type of cancer generally does not cause any pain.
Also Check: How To Keep Anti Fatigue Mats From Sliding
Noncancerous Causes Of Skin Rash
While some cancers can lead to a skin rash, rashes can also be caused by a variety of other much less dangerous sources.
Most rashes are commonly harmless and unlikely to cause permanent damage. If you notice an unexplained rash suddenly appearing on your skin, visit a health care provider for advice and treatment.
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Chest
Radiation treatment to the chest may cause side effects such as:
- Sore throat
Radiation can also cause other problems in the heart or lungs.
Getting radiation to the middle portion of the chest can raise your risk of heart disease. This risk increases with higher radiation doses and larger treatment areas in this part of your body. Radiation can also cause hardening of the arteries , heart valve damage, or irregular heartbeats.
Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by radiation treatment to the chest . It may occur about 3 to 6 months after getting radiation therapy. Its more likely if you have other lung diseases, like emphysema . Common symptoms of radiation pneumonitis include:
- Shortness of breath that usually gets worse with exercise
- Chest pain, which is often worse when taking in a deep breath
Sometimes there are no symptoms, and radiation pneumonitis is found on a chest x-ray.
Symptoms often go away on their own, but if treatment is needed, it is based on trying to decrease the inflammation. Steroids, like prednisone, are usually used. With treatment, most people recover without any lasting effects. But if it persists, it can lead to pulmonary fibrosis . When this happens, the lungs can no longer fully inflate and take in air.
Be sure you understand what to look for, and tell your cancer care team if you notice any of these side effects.
Don’t Miss: Does Low White Blood Count Cause Fatigue
Spotting The Difference: Cancer Related Fatigue Vs Everyday Fatigue
Each Sunday this year, we’ll be looking at a symptom of leukaemia as part of our #LC50 campaign. This month, we’re focussing on fatigue, and how cancer-related fatigue differs from everyday fatigue. Read all about this symptom and how to spot it.
Send / print this page
Fatigue is by far the most common symptom experienced by blood cancer patients prior to a diagnosis. According to our 2018 patient survey, 56% of leukaemia patients will experience fatigue in the lead up to their diagnosis.
The fatigue that comes with leukaemia or any cancer is known as cancer-related fatigue and it is characterised by extreme or persistent exhaustion that disrupts your daily activities and function. People who have CRF have no energy and find it extremely difficult to complete even the simple, everyday tasks that others take for granted. Spotting the difference between harmless and harmful fatigue may be key in diagnosing leukaemia early.
I was a physical guy, and then all of a sudden, no explanation, I felt like I was in treacle. Very fatigued and very tired.
How Is Cancer Fatigue Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms. You may be asked to complete a questionnaire or rate your fatigue level. Your provider may ask you to keep a journal to track your level of fatigue and factors that might contribute to fatigue.
Blood tests can check for anemia, signs of infection or other problems that cause fatigue.
Don’t Miss: Does Uterine Cancer Cause Fatigue
How Does Cancer Cause Fatigue
, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. That growth requires energy, and cancer absorbs energy that would normally travel to the rest of the body.
Its uncommon to notice this energy drain, however, unless the cancer has metastasized to organs such as the liver, where it may affect metabolism, or the bone marrow.
When cancer invades the bone marrow, it affects the production of blood cells. White blood cells help fight infection. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin and carry oxygen to and from organs and tissues throughout the body, providing energy and removing waste from cells. Cancer may cause a reduction in the production of red blood cells, resulting in anemia, which causes fatigue.
Inflammation caused by cancer may be another key contributor to cancer-related fatigue. When your body is fighting a disease, it releases chemicals like cytokines to trigger the immune response, but these chemicals may also cause fatigue.
In patients with advanced cancer, the disease may produce cachexins, which reduce your appetite and may result in cachexia, a serious cancer-related condition that causes substantial weight loss and muscle wasting.
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have skin cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called staging.
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers don’t spread as often as some other types of cancer, so the exact stage might not be too important. Still, your doctor might want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what type of treatment is best for you.
The stage describes the growth or spread of the cancer through the skin. It also tells if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body that are close by or farther away.
Your cancer can be stage 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread beyond the skin. Be sure to ask the doctor about the cancer stage and what it means for you.
Other things can also help you and your doctor decide how to treat your cancer, such as:
- Where the cancer is on your body
- How fast the cancer has been growing
- If the cancer is causing symptoms, such as being painful or itchy
- If the cancer is in a place that was already treated with radiation
- If you have a weakened immune system
You May Like: Does Diabetes Cause Extreme Fatigue