Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Skin Cancer: Painting a Cure


Skin cancer is highly curable when caught early, but once it spreads to other parts of the body, up-to-date treatments are limited and only effective in small numbers.

A new skin paste may offer hope for those with low-stage skin cancer, according to preliminary data distributed this week by Italian researchers. However, the treatment is not found to be effective for those with melanoma.

This potentially revolutionary skin care treatment was tested on 700 patients with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, less aggressive forms of skin cancer, with a resultant success rate of 95 percent after 1 to 3 uses.

The new technique unveiled by scientists can obliterate tumors affected by the most common skin cancers without surgery.

So, how does the technique work?

The treatment is delivered by introducing foil to conceal the area to be treated. A radioactive element is painted onto the foil. As the element dries, it kills the cancerous cells and ultimately shrinks the cancerous cells. One to two hours later, the foil is removed and the results are immediately evident.

Oliver Buck, chief executive of ITM which developed the treatment stated, “This means that patients with large and difficult-to-treat tumors not only have hope but keep their quality of life under what would otherwise be dire conditions.”

He went on to state that, “these people sometimes have to go through horrible surgery which removes part of their face. By contrast this treatment is generally done in a single non-invasive session.”

Skin cancers are divided into three types: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is a mild-growing form of skin cancer. It is the most common form of skin cancer. It almost never filters to other parts of the body, but can cause destruction by growing and invading surrounding tissues in the body.

Different from basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas can metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.

What causes skin cancer?

Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light exposure, generally from sunlight, is overwhelmingly the most recurrent cause of skin cancer. Tanning booths, impairment of the immune system, exposure to extraordinarily high levels of x-rays and high levels of contact with certain chemicals can also lead to skin cancer.

Preventing Skin Cancer in the New Year:

1. Limit Sun Exposure (If possible, avoid sunlight between 10am and 2pm)
2. Apply SPF Sunscreen Multiple Times Daily
3. Avoid Tanning Beds
4. Perform Self-Examinations, and Get Annual Exams with Your


Today, skin cancer is increasing at an alarming rate, but it is also one of the most preventable types ofcancer. Do your part to protect your skin, and you can greatly reduce your risk for developing this very common condition.