Identifying Potentially Cancerous Skin Lesions By: Maria Kneusel RN, BSN
Skin Cancer Facts • Skin cancer is the most common malignant condition in the US. • It accounts for 40% of all new cancer diagnoses. • It is estimated that 12,190 skin cancer-related deaths will occur in 2012.
For all skin-cancers: Sun sensitivity (fair skin) 2. Frequent or excessive sun exposure 3. Use of tanning booths 4. Sunburns 5. Immunosuppression 6. History of basal or squamous cell carcinoma Melanoma Specific: 1. Family history of melanoma 2. Numerous atypical moles (more than 50) Risk Factors
Melanomas • Develop in the melanocytes. • Can metastasize. • Cause only 4% of all skin cancers, but have highest mortality rate. • Often arise from existing nevi (moles).
Can You Spot the Warning Signs? Images retrieved from: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/moles/allpages
Skin Cancer in the Nail Bed • Subungual (under the nail) skin cancer israre. It accounts for 3% of all melanomas. • Over 75% of all subungual melanomas involve the great toe or the thumb. • Treatment of subungual melanomas may require amputation of the affected digit. • Darkening of the nail bed (Hutchinson’s Sign) is indicative of subungual melanoma. Click here to view an image of Hutchinson’s Sign.
Patient Education • Examine skin once a month for any changes, pay particular attention to moles. • Avoid excessive sun exposure. • Use sun block when exposed to sun. • Learn the ABCDs of Melanoma. • Report any new or unusual lesions to Primary Care Provider.
References American Cancer Society (2012).Cancer facts and figures. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-031941.pdf Jarvis, C. (2008). Physical examination and health assessment (5th ed.) St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier Lewis, L.S., Heitkemper M., Dirsken, S.R., O’Brien, P.G., Bucher, L. (2007). Medical-surgical nursing: Assessment and management of clinical problems (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier NYU Medical Center (n.d.). Subungual (nail bed) melanoma. Retrieved from: http://surgery.med.nyu.edu/oncology/patient-care/melanoma/special-situations/subungual-nail-bed National Cancer Institute (2011) Common Moles, Dysplastic Nevi, and Risk of Melanoma [fact sheet].Retrieved from:http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/Fs3_99.pdf