The number of new cases of skin cancer is increasing massively from year to year. In addition to the extremely dangerous black skin cancer (malignant melanoma), there is a whole series of “harmless” skin cancers, which is often referred to as “white skin cancer” because it is not quite as aggressive as melanoma. One form of these cancers is squamous cell carcinoma, which is also often referred to as spinalioma. Spinalioma is the second most common form of skin cancer.
What is spinalioma?
A spinalioma is a malignant skin tumor that can occur on the skin and mucous membranes and typically grows like warts. In contrast to black skin cancer (melanoma), it has a relatively good prognosis. For what does the abbreviation bcs stand for, please visit usvsukenglish.com.
Although spinalioma, when detected early, rarely metastasizes, it can destroy bone and muscle tissue. Squamous cell carcinoma rarely manifests as lung or bronchial carcinoma, but very often (90%) as esophageal or cervical cancer.
The spinalioma is often presented to the doctor quite late, since it does not appear threatening in the optical form of a wart, especially since it does not cause any pain. In addition, patients are often more fixated on black skin cancer and tend to observe their dark birthmarks.
As with all forms of skin cancer, the cause of spinalioma is clearly excessive exposure to the sun. For this reason, skin cancer primarily develops on the so-called “sun terraces”, i.e. areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the nose, forehead, ears or backs of the hands.
A clear increase in skin cancer cases can generally also be determined through visits to the solarium. Recent studies indicate that human papilloma viruses (HPV) may also be responsible for the development of the disease.
Since squamous cell carcinomas also occur on the mucous membranes and can express themselves in the form of cervical cancer, vaccination, which has been recommended for several years, may make sense.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A spinalioma or squamous cell carcinoma is characterized by skin changes that do not always lead to the correct diagnosis. These are red, scaly patches of skin that look similar to many skin conditions. Even a distinction between cancer precursors (keratosis) and actual carcinoma is only possible through a tissue examination.
In the precancerous condition of spinalioma (keratosis), reddened spots with more firmly adhering scales are found on the skin. The skin changes do not heal. Over time, palpable knots can form there. The nodules have a layer of crusts and scales, which at times break open in ulcers. This could already be skin cancer.
But it is also possible that the keratosis is only at an advanced stage. It is not possible to distinguish by appearance alone. Actinic keratosis does not have to turn into squamous cell carcinoma. She can also heal again. After the actual spinalioma develops, the skin remains scaly and calloused.
She feels rough. There is always a reddish to brownish discoloration of the skin on the affected area. Later, there is constant bleeding, with the wound becoming crusted and scabbed. The bleeding keeps coming back when the patient tries to scrape off the scab. A tough, painless knot also develops. The cancer grows very slowly and only very rarely metastasizes.
Diagnosis & History
The spinalioma is therefore considered a less dangerous tumor because it is detected early and very rarely metastasizes with a size of up to 2 cm. If removed in time, there is a very good prognosis for complete recovery from this skin cancer.
Nevertheless, spinalioma patients should go to cancer follow-up every three to six months over a period of five years and be thoroughly examined for recurrences, i.e. recurring skin cancer. In some federal states, this form of follow-up examination is part of the health insurance service.
Without treatment, the malignant tumor spreads and progressively destroys the surrounding tissue. Depending on the localization, this is associated with possible functional disorders. A multiple infestation of the organs always leads to a low probability of survival of the patient. This can only be prevented with the help of a timely operation.
Damage caused by incisions in nerve tracts in the facial area may result in abnormal sensations or even signs of paralysis as a complication. These can be of a permanent or short-term nature. The deeper the tumor has penetrated into tissue structures, the higher the risk of additional damage from the procedure.
Excessive scarring is also possible in some cases. It usually poses an aesthetic problem for patients. Larger sections may necessitate targeted reconstruction of the skin areas. In the case of skin transplants, allergic reactions cannot be ruled out. In general, there are usually no undesirable consequences after an operation if the tumor was discovered early.
A complete and uncomplicated incision allows for a full recovery with no cosmetic disadvantages. In later stages, this does not always work satisfactorily. Thus, the occurrence of metastases is within the realm of possibility.
Proper removal of the tumor for a favorable prognosis includes plenty of surrounding tissue that is still healthy. In addition, the draining lymphatics are included. If this surgical scope is missing, even a spinalioma that has already been removed can erupt again after a while in the same or a different place.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of a spinalioma, medical treatment must be carried out in any case. Further complications or symptoms can only be prevented by correct and, above all, early medical treatment of this disease. Since spinalioma is a form of cancer, regular examinations should be carried out even after successful treatment in order to prevent the tumor from spreading in the body.
A doctor should be consulted if the person affected suffers from various changes in the skin. This can lead to redness or black dots on the skin. If these occur or if the skin symptoms change in shape, size or color, a doctor should be consulted in any case. Permanent scaling or knots on the skin can also indicate spinalioma and should also be examined by a doctor. In some cases, the affected areas may even bleed.
In the case of spinalioma, either a dermatologist or a general practitioner can be consulted. In most cases, the symptoms can be relieved relatively well.
Treatment & Therapy
As a rule, spinaliomas are surgically removed and the removed tissue is then examined histologically to confirm the diagnosis in the laboratory. This operation is usually performed on an outpatient basis, but such interventions can also be performed on an inpatient basis in special cases, for example in the case of very elderly people or patients with additional, risky diseases.
In most cases, however, health insurance companies only pay for outpatient treatment. The suspect skin area is cut out as large as possible to avoid having to re-cut. Nevertheless, it often happens that the histological findings show that the spinalioma has not been completely removed, in which case a re-excision should always be carried out.
Since the influence of the sun’s rays is considered to be the main cause of the development of the disease, it is essential to avoid excessive sun radiation as a preventive measure. Solarium visits are often downplayed, but are proven to trigger skin cancer. The more people are exposed to the sun or solar radiation, the greater their risk of developing skin cancer.
Since the papilloma virus is also suspected of causing squamous cell carcinoma, vaccination can also be useful, especially in young women because of the risk of developing cervical cancer. Parents should take action here, since young women should be vaccinated before their first sexual intercourse. A consultation with a doctor as to whether the vaccination makes sense in the individual case should always be made in advance.
Conspicuous birthmarks, especially those that have changed rapidly, should always be shown to a knowledgeable doctor. If detected early, all forms of skin cancer have a favorable prognosis. The surgical procedure to remove the suspicious mole is usually comparatively uncomplicated, which is why risk patients should not hesitate to consult a dermatologist.
Follow-up care is extremely important for spinalioma. There is a risk that the squamous cell carcinoma will reappear at a later date. For this reason, dermatologists recommend that patients undergo a skin check-up every three to six months, even after successful therapy.
This should be done over a period of five years. Recurrences and metastases (secondary tumors) usually appear within two years after the first therapy. During follow-up care, tumor recurrences and secondary malignancies can be detected early and treated accordingly. Patients are examined on a regular basis and depend on the type of tumor in question. The tumor parameters and the stage of the disease play an important role.
Imaging procedures such as sonography (ultrasound examination), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) are important follow-up examinations after spinalioma. X-rays can also be taken. Furthermore, the doctor informs the patient about the risk factors for the development of squamous cell carcinoma and how they can be avoided.
If it is a high-risk patient who has been diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage, the follow-up examination takes place in a special skin tumor center. All other patients can carry out follow-up care with their general practitioner. As part of follow-up, patients should use a sunscreen that contains a high SPF for their skin every day.
You can do that yourself
If necessary, a spinalioma can reappear at a later point in time. Continuous check-ups are therefore necessary after successful treatment. Regular, six-monthly examinations of the entire skin surface over a period of at least five years are recommended. A major goal of the dermatological examination is also the early diagnosis of a second spinalioma, for which the patients have a significantly increased risk.
The protection of the skin is many times more important for the treated patient with spinalioma. Thus, excessive sun exposure on the skin is to be avoided. The best protection from the sun is appropriate clothing. It is therefore essential that the patient regularly applies sun protection to the skin with a high sun protection factor. This applies in particular to people with light skin and a weakened immune system. Sunburn should be avoided in any case.
The skin must be protected from chemical influences. Dry skin should be avoided. Soap-free products should therefore be used to clean the skin. The selection of the appropriate skin care cream must be coordinated with the doctor treating you. Dietary supplements such as selenium, vitamin A and beta-carotene should be able to be added to the diet of the treated spinalioma patient. These substances have been shown to protect against a renewed spinalioma.