Skin Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Our medical malpractice lawyers deal with Skin Cancer negligence cases. If you would like legal advice at no cost and with no further obligation just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices. Our Skin Cancer medical malpractice lawyers usually deal with personal injury compensation cases on a contingency basis which means that you only pay your lawyers legal fees if the case is won.

Skin Cancer - Medical Malpractice

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in humans. More than one million cases show up in the US every year and this is a conservative estimate. There is more and more skin cancer every year due to the increased strength of the sun and the depletion of the ozone layer. There are three main skin cancers to consider. These are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma. Of these, only melanoma is significantly deadly. Fortunately it is much more rare than squamous cell cancer or basal cell cancer.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It makes up about 90 percent of skin cancers found. They spread extremely rarely but can erode into surrounding tissue and can cause disfigurement.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and accounts for more than 90% of all skin cancer in the U.S. These cancers almost never spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They can, however, cause damage by growing and invading surrounding tissue.

Risk factors for developing basal cell carcinoma include being fair-skinned and being exposed to the sun. Older people are more likely to get basal cell carcinoma than younger people. Twenty percent of all basal cell carcinomas occur in skin that is not exposed to the sun. Common areas are the face, chest, back, arms, legs and scalp. The condition is more common in those areas of the world that get a lot of sun and who have light skinned people living there. Tanning booths can contribute to getting basal cell carcinoma. If a person gets therapeutic radiation for another type of cancer, they can get basal cell cancers in the same area.

Basal cell carcinomas look like pearly, dome-shaped lesions that can easily ulcerate and bleed. It can look like a flesh-colored mole. A biopsy can tell if it is just a mole or if it is basal cell cancer of the skin. Some basal cell carcinomas can have pigment in it and can look like melanomas. Only a biopsy can tell the difference.

Basal cell cancer can be treated using destructive methods like laser or can be removed surgically. This works in more than 90 percent of cases. The scar is usually small and plastic surgery techniques can be used to make the scar less noticeable.

Squamous cell cancer of the skin begins with a lesion called an actinic keratosis, which is a variously pigmented shaggy or dry lesion on the skin. As it thickens and grows, it becomes ulcerated or thicker and becomes a squamous cell cancer. Squamous cell cancers are only about a fourth as common as basal cell cancers but are also related to sun exposure. Men are more disposed to getting squamous cell cancer as women. Common places for squamous cell cancers are on the face, scalp, arms and the backs of the hands. They appear as mottled lesions on seriously sun-damaged skin. About 10-20 percent of all actinic keratoses eventually turn into skin cancer within ten years so they should all be watched.

Risk factors for squamous cell cancer are sun exposure, age, exposure to arsenic, heat, x-rays or hydrocarbons. Some squamous cell cancers arise out of scar tissue. Immunosuppression can contribute to getting squamous cell cancers.

Squamous cell cancer rarely metastasizes so it can be treated with destructive methods or surgery. Actinic keratoses can be treated with cryotherapy that destroys the damaged cells before they become cancerous. Surgery can leave scars but if plastic surgery techniques are employed, the scar can be minimized. Radiation therapy can be employed to treat squamous cell carcinomas. Some chemotherapy creams such as 5 fluorouracil can be used to attack the squamous cell cancer. They are used by application to the affected skin. Other creams include Effudex, Fluoroplex or Aldara. They stimulate the immune system so that you can fight off the cancer yourself.

Malignant melanoma is the worst of all skin cancers with a chance of metastasis and death possible. The cancer begins in the pigment producing cells of the skin, called melanocytes. They can form on normal skin but often involve a change in a mole. The pigment then spreads and the mole appears to become larger and out of the margins of the raised part of the mole.

The treatment of malignant melanoma involves invasive surgery to remove all cancer, removal of nearby lymph nodes, chemotherapy and radiation.

Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts

Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer every year. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Melanoma skin cancer misdiagnosis is extremely common and failure by a healthcare practitioner that amounts to negligence is a matter of medical malpractice and entitles the victim to claim financial recompense for pain and suffering or the loss of opportunity for a cure. Our specialist medical malpractice lawyers deal with melanoma skin cancer clinical negligence cases against doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare providers working in medical practices, clinics, hospitals and all other places where health care is dispensed.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It is considered the most deadly form of skin cancer, with metastases likely. Almost 100,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed per year in Canada but only a small fraction of these are melanoma. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing steadily over the past 30-40 years, especially since tanning has become more popular. The sun has also become effectively stronger and this influences the risk of melanoma. The rate has been increasing about 3 percent per year in Caucasians and even higher than that in Caucasian women. It is the most common form of cancer in those aged 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in teenagers.

The most common spot in the body for melanoma is the torso with 1 in 58 individuals becoming diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes. Melanoma is highly treatable with a survival rate in young people being greater than 90 percent after five years.

The incidence of melanoma is about 1,000 cases found per year in Canada. Of these about 1,00 will die of the disease. More than half of all cases will be found to be invasive and the rest are found to be in situ or localized. Worldwide, more than 65,000 individuals will die from exposure to too much sun, most of them dying of malignant melanoma. If the melanoma has not spread to lymph nodes, it is 99 percent treatable and curable. Distant metastases, on the other hand, have only a 15 percent five year survival rate.

Malignant melanoma is a cancer of the melanocytes of the skin. These are the cells than make the pigment of the skin. When the melanocytes become cancerous, they can change color and become red, yellow, black or even bluish. Some malignant melanoma cells create no pigment whatsoever.

There are four types of melanoma, including superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma, which usually occurs on the palms or the soles of the feet. It may start de novo from normal skin or can come out of a pre-existing mole or large freckle. Some can occur within moles that have existed since birth. In rare cases, melanoma can show up within the mouth, in the retina at the back of the orbit, or in the iris of the eye. Even more rare are malignant melanomas showing up in the anus, vagina, esophagus, small intestine or urinary tract.

Risk factors for getting malignant melanoma include living at high altitudes and in sunny climates, being exposed to the sun for a long time, having at least one blistering sunburn while in childhood, using tanning beds, having a family history of melanoma, having exposure to toxic chemicals, having multiple birthmarks and atypical dysplastic moles and having a weakened immune system.

The main symptoms of malignant melanoma include having an asymmetric mole, having a mole grow beyond its borders, having a change in color of a mole or having a mole that is greater than 6 mm in diameter.

Malignant melanoma is diagnosed by a thorough skin examination. If a mole or area of the skin is suspicious for malignant melanoma, it is biopsied. If the biopsy shows melanoma under the microscope the cancer is treated.

The mainstay of treatment for malignant melanoma is surgery. Surgery aims to remove every cell of malignant melanoma. Chemotherapy is used to treat metastatic disease and radiation can be used to eliminate cancer cells that have become left over by surgery or to treat pain or discomfort. Any lymph nodes involved with malignant melanoma are treated with surgery if at all possible.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here