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SKIN CANCER TYPES: SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA

 

squamous cell carcinoma

 

SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer, affecting over 200,000 Americans each year. It develops when a mole or other lesion becomes infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

 

SCC most commonly appears on the lip, earlobes, face, or neck. In some cases it may be so small that is not noticed until it has spread to other parts of the body and made them very sick. The early signs are as follows: an open sore that doesn't heal within 4 to 6 weeks; a scaly or crusty patch on the skin; a wart-like growth; and raised bumps on the skin with scaling around its edge. It is on these small bumps that one may get a visual palpation of the disease. The bumps may be small (some less than one millimeter high); they may be large (up to 3 mm high), or they may look like bumps.

 

The best way to treat SCC is the removal of the affected area; however, many people with this condition have other cancers that can not be detected until it is too late when they develop in time. A more economical method would be a "proximity" treatment, meaning that the doctor will create an area around cancer where he or she will inject poison into it so that it dies and falls off. There are several problems with this treatment. In the first place, it is not a guarantee. The doctor can not be sure that it will work the first time. It has a variable success rate in different parts of the body, thus creating an uneven distribution of poison in a patient's body. Furthermore, if the cancer is small enough and not spread around, there is no harm to treating it in this manner (it may even be quite helpful). But for inoperable cancers, this treatment is unacceptable to most patients who wish to avoid chemotherapy treatments that cause extreme nausea and long-term adverse side effects. 

There have been some new treatments on the market that seemed to be promising, but these have not been approved by the FDA for use. These are called topical therapies and include a cream that can be applied to external lesions directly, or a spray that is applied to the face every other day. A placebo control group of SCC patients were also treated with these topicals (Small skin cancers on fingertips treated in a two-drug regimen containing topical amorolfine): 90.7% had complete disappearance of a skin lesion in one year; 79.9% had no evidence of tumor at final follow-up; 2.2% had complete disappearance of skin lesion at final follow-up; 1.4% had tumor regrowth in the first year.

 

There are several herbal treatments for the treatment of SCC, including Turmeric (Curcumin), Garlic, and Tea Tree Oil. Studies have shown that topical application of turmeric and garlic has some effect in inhibiting the growth of SCC. However, there is no evidence to support its use as a preventive or therapeutic agent for SCC.

 

While the growth of this type of lesion can be stopped by techniques such as cryosurgery or radiation therapy, these techniques are not always an option. When a lesion is malignant, it will probably have already spread to other parts of the body when the doctor diagnoses it and there is no way around it.

 

Since most people are not treated for SCC until it has already spread around the body or become very large or inoperable, many people with SCC simply live with it. Studies have shown that if these people have their tumors removed, they have a better chance of survival than if they just live with them and die of something else that causes cancer. This is what doctors call "curing" their cancer before it can kill them outright.

 

The most effective way to treat SCC is by removing the affected area. This is the most common way that doctors treat SCC because it is very effective in preventing the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body and is one of the few ways that makes a difference.

 

Although early detection can increase survival rates, it is not always an option for those with this condition. The earlier that this disease comes to light, the better its chance of survival; however, even when it has spread around rapidly, there are treatments available today that are used to halt further cancer growth and even kill cancerous cells.

 

New treatments have shown some promise but have not yet been accepted by the FDA for use on humans.

 

There have been new studies on the effectiveness of THC in inhibiting skin tumors. This study is ongoing, but researchers are hopeful that there will be a cure for this disease by increasing the capacity to kill SCC cells by 30% to 40%. This can be done with THC and its derivatives, such as CBD (Cannabidiol) which induces apoptosis in skin cancer cells. It is believed that this treatment could be used along with surgery or radiation therapy. The FDA recently approved the first prescription cannabidiol medication, Epidiolex, a genetic medicine developed by GW Pharmaceuticals to treat severe seizures in patients with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. CBD has also been proven to have anti-tumor effects in several cancer types, including brain tumors.

 

A 2013 study found that the tumor replicates in a sensitive period of the organism's development, which is later than initially thought. Cancer can act as a driver to induce other malignancies and determine the host's susceptibility to cancer. Researchers at the University of Minnesota report that normal cells turn into cancerous cells, making this process one of evolutionary selection. The results suggest that it may be possible to fight cancer with the right drugs by mimicking these embryonic clock-time signals used by the cells to control proliferation.

 

Another relevant study published in "Cancer Cell", which has also confirmed the possibility of a cure for skin cancer, was presented at the annual conference of the American Association for Cancer Research. The study showed that it is possible to make cancer cells into harmless scar tissue. They used a therapy called "immunotherapy" to curb the development of melanoma and not cause any adverse side effects (hematopoietic syndrome) due to overstimulation of the immune system.

Studies show that cannabinoids inhibit tumor cell growth both in vitro and in vivo by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death), by inhibiting angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), or by both mechanisms simultaneously. 

CBD, the most abundant and potent cannabinoid found in cannabis, is a non-psychoactive component of the plant. It is a highly therapeutic drug for many conditions in both humans and animals, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease (and other neurodegenerative diseases), childhood epilepsy (especially Dravet syndrome), multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.

A 2013 study demonstrated that cannabinoids can promote apoptosis of tumor cells without negatively impacting surrounding healthy cells. While this was not a study specific to skin cancer, the results suggest that there is indeed a likelihood of treating cancer with cannabinoids without damaging the host. 

Another 2013 study outlined the effectiveness of THC in reducing tumor growth in mice with human brain tumors. While this particular study did not show effectiveness against melanoma, it did demonstrate that THC and other cannabinoids are effective at slowing tumor growth while minimizing side effects.

 

Another 2013 study showed that CBD has antitumor effects. They determined CBD's ability to inhibit angiogenesis in many cancers including melanoma, breast cancer, brain cancer (gliomas), and others. 

SCC is highly curable if detected early and treated correctly. The earlier that this disease comes to light, the better its chance of survival; however, even when it has spread around rapidly, there are treatments available today that are used to halt further cancer growth.

 

Melanoma immunotherapy is most recommended for those who have a high risk of recurrence or metastasis. Immunotherapy treatment can be beneficial in the early stages of SCC. Since most people are not treated for SCC until it has already spread around the body or become very large or inoperable, many people with SCC simply live with it.

squamous cell carcinoma causes:

melanoma immunotherapy is most recommended for those who have a high risk of recurrence or metastasis. Immunotherapy treatment can be beneficial in the early stages of SCC. Since most people are not treated for SCC until it has already spread around the body or become very large or inoperable, many people with SCC simply live with it.

 

No existing clinical trials are proving that any active chemicals in marijuana slow or cure cancer. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant, and CBD (Cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid found in cannabis. Both cannabinoids have anti-emetic effects. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that they kill cancer cells. For example, one study showed that a combination of THC, CBD, and other chemicals found in marijuana slowed the growth of glioma tumor cells in mice. Similarly, the cannabidiol may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and promote the death of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. There is also some anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD may work against brain cancer cell lines. Many people with cancer use marijuana to help alleviate and sometimes eliminate the effects of chemotherapy, because it can be very hard on the body.

 

The University of Iowa's Department of Internal Medicine conducted a study that showed that patients who smoked marijuana experienced nausea relief, an increase in appetite, and a better quality of sleep than those who took a placebo pill. Patients who were under intense treatment for cancer reported that marijuana eased anxiety. Reports from patients in other clinical trials suggest euphoria or high feelings are common among patients taking THC for the first time.

SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA

 

While the National Cancer Institute states that marijuana is not useful for treating cancer symptoms or side effects caused by chemotherapy, there is some evidence that pot can help alleviate these issues.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk Factors:

 

The risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma is higher than the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. In addition to the risk factors listed above, other factors associated with a greater risk for SCC include:

Squamous Cell Carcinoma "Prevention":

 

Choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as an active ingredient and wear it every day, especially when you are in the sun.

 

Melanoma Prevalence:

Melanoma is among the most common cancers in people ages 25 to 29, but it's also one of the most treatable. Melanomas that are found and removed early have about a 98 percent chance of being cured, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma is most common in Caucasians over age 50, but the risk of getting it increases with age.

 

Treatment:

Treatment for melanoma depends on how deep the cancer is and how far it has spread. If a melanoma has not spread past the top layer of skin, it can usually be removed entirely with surgery. Treatments that may be used after surgery include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy (treatments directed at your immune system). Melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body may be treated with different combinations of these therapies too. 

The survival rate for melanoma is highest when it is detected and treated in its earliest stages. Melanoma usually appears as a new mole or part of an existing mole. 


Signs:

While melanomas can feel like a hard, small lump under the skin, they are not the only type of skin cancer that feels this way. Dermoscopy is a new diagnostic imaging method that uses a magnifying device to view skin lesions and determine their differences, which allows for quicker diagnosis. Dermoscopy can be used to determine if it is a melanoma or basal cell carcinoma and can be performed by dermatologists during office visits.

 

If you are experiencing any of the following, contact your physician right away:

 

Initial signs may include: 

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It develops in the basal cells, which are located at the bottom layer of the epidermis and are responsible for producing new skin cells. Basal cell carcinomas only occur on parts of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure. Although rare, they can develop in areas that have not been exposed to sunlight, such as parts covered by thick clothing or areas hidden from sunlight by dense hair growth (for example, underarm or pubic hair).

 

Treatment:

Basal cell carcinomas usually can be successfully treated if discovered and removed early. Small tumors may be destroyed by freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) or cutting with a surgical scalpel (excision). Larger tumors may need to be surgically removed, but occasionally can be removed by surgery without leaving a noticeable scar. Laser surgery is sometimes used to remove basal cell carcinomas that are near the eye. For long-term control of basal cell carcinomas, patients may receive radiation therapy to the tumor site.

 

At this time, there are no clinical studies presenting evidence that cannabinoids cure or alleviate cancer symptoms or side effects caused by chemotherapy. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant, and CBD (Cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid found in cannabis. Both cannabinoids have anti-emetic effects. However, their side effects are very well known and include:

 

Cannabis may be effective at relieving pain symptoms, including cancer pain, but since it has not been rigorously studied in clinical trials, patients should use caution when using it. The combination of THC and CBD has created significant interest in the treatment of cancer-related symptoms because of the psychoactive properties of THC and its ability to reduce nausea.

 

One of the first published reports of the use of cannabis for cancer pain was in 1974 during a trial run by cancer patients who were using it to relieve pain. Fourteen cancer-related symptom reduction was observed during this open-label trial. Of the 14 patients, one encountered unusual side effects including suicidal behavior, two had transient paranoia and the other reported feeling strange. Neurological symptoms were seen in two patients and one became increasingly agitated and violent. Another patient reported no significant side effects but said she noticed an improvement in her appetite which she attributed to relief related to chemotherapy.

 

There is currently insufficient evidence that cannabinoids improve appetite in people with advanced cancer. While there is some evidence that cannabinoids may alleviate nausea, the same claim has been made for many other medications, including anti-emetics.

 

Although CBD has anti-emetic effects, it also causes several side effects like increased heart rate, drowsiness, and dry mouth. For these reasons, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. 

Anticipating any potential negative side effects of marijuana, some patients prefer not to use it during chemotherapy treatment. 

Because marijuana is a controlled substance, the cancer community cannot legally provide information on the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients. However, studies in recent years have attempted to quantify the risks of medical marijuana use and to evaluate its potential role in reducing morbidity and mortality among people with cancer. 

 

All cancers are potentially curable though only 15% will progress to clinical metastases.

An estimated 590,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2012 and about 490,000 people will die from various types of cancer worldwide. As quoted from Cancer Research UK: "The disease accounts for some 8 percent (6 million) of all deaths worldwide. Breast cancer alone is responsible for approximately a quarter (1 million) of all deaths from cancer. 

The most common types of cancer in the United States are:

  

In the U.S., it is estimated that there were 21,140 new cases of melanoma in men and women combined in 2009 (1). In the U.S., approximately 78,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in 2012 (2). 

It is estimated that about 1,850 people will die from skin cancer and 6,950 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year (1).

 

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