Non-melanoma Skin Cancers: Perspectives of Early Diagnosis and Therapy

Abstract: Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) belong to the group of most frequent malignant cancers among Caucasian race. Similar to other cancer types, NMSC progression is an outcome of environmental factors and genetic background. The predominating risk factor for NMSC is the prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. The origin place for non-melanoma skin cancers is the epidermis. There are two main types: basal cell carcinoma (BSC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Basal cell carcinoma origins from the basal layer of epidermis. BCC progresses relatively slowly but exerts a substantial damaging impact on adjacent tissues. SCC, in contrast to basal cell carcinoma, metastasise more frequently, typically to local lymph nodes. The observed rise of NMSC incidence in recent years prompts to move forward to a more effective prophylactic approach and comprehensive treatment. Ultimately, the actual diagnosis of all subtypes of NMSCs is based on the result of a histopathological examination of an excised skin fragment. The therapeutic process depends on several features that account for the clinical image of the lesion: the primary focus, the presence of metastases to the local lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body. Photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) are promising, non-invasive methods which may be helpful in early diagnosis and treatment of superficially growing NMSCs.

Stanislaw Kwiatkowski, Salwador Cyranowski, Beata Joanna Osiecka

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