Carcinome : comment identifier le cancer de la peau le plus fréquent ?

Carcinoma is the most common skin cancer: 80% of cases. Superficial, he takes good care of himself. Bald people are particularly at risk.


If the sun has beneficial effects to synthesize vitamin D and to bring a feeling of well-being thanks to the secretion of endorphins, a low dose is enough. Too much exposure to light rays has negative repercussions on the skin: UVA rays promote the appearance of wrinkles and brown spots, but also can (like UVB rays) damage DNA and lead to skin cancer. skin.

On the same subject

When to prepare your skin for the sun?

What are the symptoms of carcinoma?

There are 2 types of skin cancer: melanomas and carcinomas.

  • Carcinomas represent 80% of cases, they are more superficial and can appear in the form of pimples, sometimes with scabsor which give the impression of not healing.
  • Melanomas are rarer but it is the most severe form.

Carcinomas and melanomas develop from melanocytes, either from a mole or on an area without a mole. So you have to be in both cases, attentive to any lesion that will seem strange, unusual and not only from a mole.

Most of carcinomas develop on parts of the body that are fairly exposed to the sun, especially the skull. In effect, bald heads accumulate large doses of ultraviolet rays and are more at risk of developing carcinomas over the years. Reason why, the hat or the cap are essential in sunny weather.

The basal cell carcinomas (70%) are generally located on the face, the scalp (in case of baldness), the neck and the back and the squamous cell carcinoma (20%) appear on exposed areas, but also on chronic wounds, scars, etc.

We will also find small translucent pearls around the eyes, the cheeks or even the forehead, or nodules under the skin, or even a pink patch.

What is the difference between carcinoma and melanoma?

Carcinoma is a skin cancer, which most often affects part of the skin exposed to the sun on a regular basis, while melanoma can follow a violent sunburn. The two do not develop in the same way. Carcinoma originates in the basic cells of the epidermis. Melanoma arises from cells that produce melanin. Unlike the carcinoma that is mostly curablethe melanoma remains very aggressive.

What are the causes and risk factors?

Among the causes that would cause the presence of a carcinoma are:

  • regular sun exposure,
  • indoor tanning,
  • the tobacco
  • and human papillomavirus.

Chronic skin diseases and radiotherapy are also known to be risk factors for carcinoma.

How is the diagnosis made?

If in doubt about the appearance of a mole, sore or pimples, consultation with a dermatologist turns out to be unavoidable. The latter can, just by observing with a magnifying glass, establish a first diagnosis in order to know if it is a carcinoma or not. the diagnostic can then be completed by a more in-depth analysis under the microscope, by taking a sample, as well as by a skin biopsy.

What are the stages of evolution?

As with any type of cancer, doctors rely on the international TNM staging system which defines tumor size, lymph node involvement and the presence of metastases in other parts of the body. We also note 5 stages: stage 0 is equivalent to a tumor in situ when stage 4 corresponds to the birth of metastases in neighboring organs. Carcinoma is no exception to the rule.

What is the life expectancy with carcinoma?

Good less serious than melanoma, carcinoma is rarely fatal (basal cell carcinoma never metastasizes), provided it is treated early enough; life expectancy is therefore not affected.

Carcinoma treatments

The treatment of carcinoma most often involves surgery with local anesthesia, at the dermatologist’s office.

For the most superficial cases, other treatments can be put in place, through the application of creams to be applied locally for 4 to 6 weeks ; taking pills or cryotherapythat is, burning cancer cells with liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide.

In very advanced forms of basal cell carcinoma, if the patient cannot benefit from either surgery or radiotherapy, a drug (vismodegib, sonidegib) can make the cancer disappear in 6 to 12 months on average.

Basal cell carcinomas evolve slowly and are well cared for because they do not cause metastases, unlike squamous cell carcinoma. That said, these are cured in 90% of cases with adequate treatment.

In case of squamous cell carcinoma, if the tumor is already accompanied by metastases that cannot be operated on, the doctor will combine it with chemotherapy or radiotherapy and sometimes lymph node dissection. In more than two-thirds of cases, this treatment is effective. In the event of recurrences with metastases, an injection of immunotherapy (Cemiplimab) is now preferred every three weeks for as long as possible. “This molecule could even have an effect after stopping treatment for several months or even several years”recently pointed out to Top Santé, Professor Meyer, onco-dermatologist at the IUCT oncopôle, in Toulouse.

Reviewed by Doctor Anne-Christine Della Valle, general practitioner, specializing in infectious and tropical diseases, hospital hygiene and gerontology.


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