Skin cancer is one of the most common malignant diseases. Treatment of skin cancer at Herzliya Medical Center in Israel involves the removal of the local tumor and therapy aimed at the destruction of metastases and prevent a recurrence. We do this by using proven progressive methods of chemotherapy, as well as biological and photodynamic therapy.
Like most other cancers, successful melanoma treatment, for example, is largely dependent on early detection.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is characterized by atypical changes in normal cells of the epidermis – the upper layer of the skin – and abnormal growth. There are several types of skin cancer:
- Squamous cell carcinoma – a Tumor formed by flat epithelial cells.
- Basal cell carcinoma – neoplasm develops from basal cells, located within a deep layer of the epidermis
- Melanoma – the source of the tumors are the melanocytes, which are cells that contain the natural pigment melanin
Rarer forms of skin cancer include Kaposi’s sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cancer of the sebaceous glands. Skin cancer treatment in Israel is planned accordingly, based on the histologic tumor type and stage of the disease.
Skin cancer Risk Factors
The main risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet light (UV) radiation from the sun, which causes mutations in the DNA of the epidermal cells.
Cancer risk is also higher among those whose professional activity requires large amounts of time spent outdoors, such as athletes, lifeguards, and construction workers. Also people with fair skin and those who sunburn easily, as well as people with lots of moles and use tanning beds. Other risk factors include:
- Living and vacationing in mountainous areas or areas with a large number of sunny days a year
- Family history of skin cancer
- Contact with ionizing radiation or chemical carcinogens
- Previous diagnosis of skin cancer
- Continual sunburn
- A history of precancerous lesions such as actinic keratosis
Types and Signs of Skin Cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma – often localized in open areas like the face, neck, and scalp. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a smooth grayish-pink nodule on the skin surface or as a flat pink ulcer
- Squamous cell carcinoma – often localized to ears and hands. People with darker skin experience squamous cell carcinoma in closed areas of the body. Tumors appear in the form of a dense red nodule or as flat ulcers, as well as crusted or scaly skin
- Melanoma – the tumor can be formed based on existing nevi (atypical moles) subjected to malignancy (malignant transformation), or from melanocytes located anywhere on the skin. For men, melanoma is often localized on the face and torso. Women, usually on the lower extremities. People with darker skin can develop melanoma on palms, fingertips, or under nails. Melanoma can also occur on mucous membranes of the body, such as the vagina, rectum, mouth or nasal cavity. Furthermore, its appearance may look as follows:
1.Brown spots, uneven in color (darker elements)
2.Transformation of existing nevus (moles) that change their appearance in color or size.
3.The appearance of neoplasm – irregular borders and atypical color (white, red, cyanotic, or blue-black)
- Kaposi’s sarcoma – this type of skin cancer often occurs in people with weakened immune systems such as those living with HIV. The tumor is formed from blood vessels and appears in the form of a purple and red spot
- Merkel cell sarcoma – a rare malignant disease, which manifests as small nodules, found on the face, neck or torso
- Cancer of the sebaceous glands – an aggressive malignant tumor, which appears on the face, especially in the eye regions
Skin Cancer Diagnosis at HMC
A preliminary diagnosis is made by examination of the skin. If during the exam, certain suspicious lesions are found, a biopsy is performed in order to investigate tissue samples for the presence of abnormal cells, as well as to identify the histologic type of the tumor.
Skin cancer treatment in Israel is dependent on the stage of the disease by the tumor size, degree of infiltration into the surrounding tissue and the presence of metastases in distant organs. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads beyond the epidermis, and a biopsy of the tumor is usually sufficient for the diagnosis of her stage. To determine the stage of melanoma or squamous cell cancer, a series of diagnostic tests are performed, including CT scan, bone scintigraphy, among others.
Skin Cancer Treatment in Israel
- Surgery– Most skin cancers are treated with surgery. Excision (removal) of the tumor through a biopsy or as a separate procedure. The surgeon removes the tumor and its surrounding field of soft tissue. With the involvement of the lymph nodes, the resection is performed.
- Cryosurgery– As an alternative to surgery for small superficial lesions, degradation of these are performed with liquid nitrogen at early stages.
- Mohs surgery– Large or recurrent tumors are excised by this method, precise micrographic precise surgery that removes tissue layer by layer and examined microscopically (in real-time) until no skin cancer cells are visible. The method of Mohs surgery involves the dramatic removal of a cancerous tumor while retaining the maximum amount of adjacent healthy tissue.
- Curettage and electrosurgery– Curettage, is performed after excision of basal cell carcinoma or Squamous cell carcinoma, for which the surgeon utilizes a mechanical scraping (curettage) surface on the surgical wound, and may cauterize it (using electrosurgery), or use cryotherapy. Thus, it is possible to destroy residual tumor cells, located in deeper layers of the skin.
- Skin cancer radiotherapy– If radical removal of the tumor is difficult, the patient may be prescribed radiotherapy. The radiation dosage and the number of treatments administered are determined on an individual basis.
- Chemotherapy of malignant skin tumors– Systemic chemotherapy is administered in cases of metastasis. Local chemotherapy is applied using cytotoxic drugs directly to the tumor site.
- Photodynamic therapy of cancer tumors of the skin– This technique consists of exposing the tumor to a laser beam to stimulate photosensitivity – an artificial increase in susceptibility to light.
- Biological therapy of skin cancer– Biological therapy is aimed at stimulating the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.
The incidence of skin cancer remains high, public awareness and prevention could significantly lower the incidence rate. Experts at Herzliya Medical Center in Israel possess the most advanced methods of diagnosis and skin cancer treatment in Israel. The use of ultra-modern equipment and effective medications, HMC in Israel allows patients to achieve radical destruction of malignant tumors and prevent recurrence of the disease in the future.