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But they can also be dark brown, black, or a dark bluish color. Squamous cell carcinoma : Squamous cells make up the middle and outer layers of skin. This type of cancer also appears on skin exposed to sunlight, and it can manifest in different appearances on different parts of your body. This type of cancer can be aggressive, but it also isn’t prone to spreading. Squamous cell carcinoma can look like a nodule (often red), a crusty area on the skin, or a reddened area in the mouth, the anus, and around the genital area.

Rarer types include angiosarcomas, cutaneous lymphomas, and others Melanoma Skin Cancer Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It develops in the pigment cells of the skin—the cells that produce melanin. Melanoma can also metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body. It is metastasis that makes this cancer—and all types of cancers—so dangerous. Actinic keratoses is a pre-cancerous type of skin growth. These can develop into cancer over the course of years.

One of the obstacles in catching skin cancer early is that normal skin blemishes, such as moles, are often overlooked for long periods of time as being nothing to worry about. To help distinguish everyday moles from possible melanomas, use the mnemonic “ ABCDE. ” A symmetric in shape B orders are irregular C hanges in color D iameter over. ¼ inch (6 mm) E volving changes—changes that can include shape, color, size or if a mole begins to bleed or itch. Any cell can be transformed into a cancer cell—and there are many, many ways this can happen depending on the specific cell. This is just one of the reasons there may never be a single “cure” for cancer in general; cancer represents well over 100 different types. Each type of cancer may have different mechanisms contributing to its transformation and each may have different points at which it can be treated. Underlying all cancers is the regulation of gene expression. For every type of cancer, there is a different gene (or genes) that becomes activated or deactivated causing the cell to become cancerous. The functions of the endocannabinoid system—the natural biological system that “overlaps” with plant-derived cannabinoids—include inhibiting tumor cell replication and growth, inhibiting the spread of a tumor (metastasis) partly by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels, and inducing a form of cell death known as apoptosis. Some studies have indicated that poorly functioning endocannabinoid system may set the stage for conditions that allow the cancer cells to proliferate and metastasize. Note the subtle difference between a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system causing the initial transformation of cells into cancer cells and allowing cancer to progress. Think of it as the difference between a water tap where no water flows out at all and a water tap that allows a few drops of water to flow. In mice, for example, cannabinoids have been shown to reduce the size of breast tumors and lower the frequency of metastasis. Many other studies have indicated that the endocannabinoid system is functional in the skin and may play a role in skin cancers, especially inflammatory skin cancers. Animal models have revealed some paradoxical findings—in other words, cannabinoids have been found, under different conditions, to be both supporting cancer cells and inhibiting cancer cells. This is true for both melanoma and nonmelanoma, and may be dose dependent. You probably guessed it—there are very studies on CBD for skin cancer in progress at the moment. For now, though, we have some limited data from studies performed in human cells cultures—but these studies used synthetic cannabinoids and not CBD. Currently, there are only theories why CBD for skin cancer might inhibit cancerous cell growth: In particular, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties (cancer and inflammation go hand-in-hand) and its ability to inhibit the growth of the blood vessels needed to “feed” a tumor.

There may also be some more direct effects of cannabinoids on tumor growth and on inducing apoptosis.

All this taken together shows promise that CBD for skin cancer could play part in future treatment protocols, but more clinical trials and more information are still needed. Most of the common skin cancers like squamous and basal cell carcinomas are relatively noninvasive and, if caught early, can be completely removed by excision. The more invasive melanoma form of skin cancer is harder to detect and requires a more extensive treatment protocol including surgery, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Early melanoma has a survival rate of 98 percent—but this falls to 23 percent if the melanoma spreads to other parts of the body.


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