How Long Do Side Effects Last
Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.
Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.
Recovery Of Hair Loss Related To Skin Cancer In Dogs
If your dog is able to overcome his cancer, his hair should return in full. The hair loss itself is more of a secondary concern than a primary one. Treat the cancer, and in turn, you will also be treating the hair loss. With or without treatment for his cancer your dog& rsquo s prognosis of recovery can range from fair to poor. The prognosis depends on the stage of cancer, how aggressive it is, and how early it is caught and treatment started. If a small area is concerned and the cancer caught early, his prognosis of recovery is fair to good. If caught later or if it involves a larger area, his prognosis only declines.
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For More Information About Skin Cancer
National Cancer Institute, Cancer Information Service Toll-free: 4-CANCER 422-6237TTY : 332-8615
Skin Cancer Foundation
Media file 1: Skin cancer. Malignant melanoma.
Media file 2: Skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma.
Media file 3: Skin cancer. Superficial spreading melanoma, left breast. Photo courtesy of Susan M. Swetter, MD, Director of Pigmented Lesion and Cutaneous Melanoma Clinic, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.
Media file 4: Skin cancer. Melanoma on the sole of the foot. Diagnostic punch biopsy site located at the top. Photo courtesy of Susan M. Swetter, MD, Director of Pigmented Lesion and Cutaneous Melanoma Clinic, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.
Media file 5: Skin cancer. Melanoma, right lower cheek. Photo courtesy of Susan M. Swetter, MD, Director of Pigmented Lesion and Cutaneous Melanoma Clinic, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.
Media file 6: Skin cancer. Large sun-induced squamous cell carcinoma on the forehead and temple. Image courtesy of Dr. Glenn Goldman.
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Hair Follicles Can Be A Site Of Origin For Melanoma
New research argues that melanoma can start not only in the skin, but also inside hair follicles. When they become cancerous, the cells then leave the follicles and move into the skins outermost layer, or epidermis.
The scientists demonstrated this effect in a new mouse model of human melanoma and confirmed it in samples of human tissue.
In a recent Nature Communications study paper, the team describes melanoma starting in immature, pigment producing cells in hair follicles, then moving into the epidermis.
Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer that is very difficult to treat in its advanced stages.
For this reason, while only 1% of people who develop skin cancer have invasive melanoma, it is responsible for most deaths due to skin cancer.
The cancer begins in melanocytes, which are the cells that make the pigment that gives color to the hair, skin, and eyes. This pigment is called melanin.
The new study focuses on melanocyte stem cells, which are cells that have not yet fully differentiated into their final mature state.
Some Skin Cancers May Start In Hair Follicles
- NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine
- Some of the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers.
Some of the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers, a new study finds.
Hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers. It is there that immature pigment-making cells develop cancer-causing genetic changes — and in a second step — are exposed to normal hair growth signals, say the study authors.
Past models of the disease had argued that sunlight was a major risk factor for melanoma — but current work argues that the triggers are always there in normal follicles.
The new study, published online November 4 in Nature Communications, found that unlike their normal counterparts, newly cancerous pigment stem cells then migrate up and out of the follicles to establish melanomas in nearby surface skin before spreading deeper. The study was conducted in genetically engineered mice, with the results confirmed in human tissue samples.
Invisible Trail Revealed
The study results reflect development, in which a human starts as a single stem cell, the embryo, and becomes a fetus made up of hundreds of cell types. Along the way, stem cells divide, multiply and specialize, until, finally, they become cells capable of playing a single role .
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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Breast
If you have radiation to the breast, it can affect your heart or lungs as well causing other side effects.
Short-term side effects
Radiation to the breast can cause:
- Skin irritation, dryness, and color changes
- Breast soreness
- Breast swelling from fluid build-up
To avoid irritating the skin around the breast, women should try to go without wearing a bra whenever they can. If this isnt possible, wear a soft cotton bra without underwires.
If your shoulders feel stiff, ask your cancer care team about exercises to keep your shoulder moving freely.
Breast soreness, color changes, and fluid build-up will most likely go away a month or 2 after you finish radiation therapy. If fluid build-up continues to be a problem, ask your cancer care team what steps you can take. See Lymphedema for more information.
Long-term changes to the breast
Radiation therapy may cause long-term changes in the breast. Your skin may be slightly darker, and pores may be larger and more noticeable. The skin may be more or less sensitive and feel thicker and firmer than it was before treatment. Sometimes the size of your breast changes it may become larger because of fluid build-up or smaller because of scar tissue. These side effects may last long after treatment.
After about a year, you shouldnt have any new changes. If you do see changes in breast size, shape, appearance, or texture after this time, tell your cancer care team about them right away.
Less common side effects in nearby areas
What Can Go Wrong
Many factors can lead to hair loss. For example:
Hormones affect both the timing of the follicular phases and the health of the follicles. These can affect hair loss by:
- Delaying or preventing the resting follicles from beginning a new growth phase. Hair gradually becomes sparser as individual hairs fall out and take longer to be replaced. Eventually follicles might stop producing new hair altogether.
- Abruptly shifting a high percentage of follicles into the rest phase, leading to a lot of hair being shed some months later. This is a common occurrence in pregnancy. When hormones begin to normalize some weeks after delivery, the unusually high number of follicles that were resting suddenly shed their hairs in order to re-enter the growth phase.
- Hair typically returns to normal within a year or so.
- Interacting with genetics in a way that results in female pattern hair loss . During and after menopause, around 30% of women will develop FPHL as a result of normal changes to the balance of androgen and estrogen. Hair loss is first noticeable at the part and at the temples, but eventually hair coverage on the rest of the scalp can also become sparse.
- Triggering premenopausal FPHL along with excess body hair growth. Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome often have a high level of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones can cause hair thinning or loss in women prior to menopause. For more information, see Halzas article about PCOS
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Realize That Reconstructive Surgery May Be Necessary
After cancer surgery on the head or neck, reconstructive surgery is sometimes necessary. Your surgeon may perform the reconstructive surgery immediately after removing the cancer.
Youll have to wait for reconstructive surgery if you:
Have advanced cancer
Need to see a different surgeon for reconstructive surgery
If the cancer is advanced, youll need to wait for reconstructive surgery because your surgeon will want to know if you need more cancer surgery. To find out, the tissue that your surgeon removed during surgery will be examined under a microscope. You may also need medical testing. It can take a few days to get the results.
Metastatic And Recurrent Melanoma
Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, where it can cause tumors. When melanoma has spread and appears as a tumor in another part of the body, it sometimes can be successfully treated with surgery. But metastatic melanoma usually needs other treatments, too, such as chemotherapy, interferon, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Metastatic melanoma and melanoma that can’t be removed with surgery may be treated with inhibitors.
Melanoma can come back after treatment. This is called recurrent melanoma. All of the treatments mentioned above may be used for recurrent melanoma as well as:
- Hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion. If the melanoma is on your arm or leg, chemotherapy medicine may be added to a warm solution and injected into the bloodstream of that arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from that limb is stopped for a short time so the medicine can go right to the tumor.
- Medicines injected directly into the tumor.
- Lasers to destroy the tumor.
If your melanoma can’t be cured, your doctors will try to control symptoms, reduce complications, and keep you comfortable.
Your doctor may recommend that you join a clinical trial if one is available in your area. Clinical trials may offer the best treatment option for people who have metastatic cancer. Clinical trials study other treatments, such as combinations of chemotherapy, vaccines, and immunotherapies. They are also studying targeted therapy.
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Diagnosis Of Hair Loss Related To Skin Cancer In Dogs
When you arrive at the veterinary clinic, your veterinarian will begin by performing a full physical exam on your dog. She will want to check him over entirely to note any other symptoms he is displaying in addition to his presenting concern of the specific skin area. She will also collect a verbal history from you about your dog& rsquo s condition. She will want to know what symptoms he has been experiencing, when they started, if the if the area in question has been getting bigger or changing in texture, if any other pets in the home are experiencing symptoms, and similar questions.
The only way to truly diagnose any type of mass or skin condition is through diagnostic testing. If his skin cancer is in the form of a mass or lump, she may suggest a fine needle aspirate . She will stick a needle in the sample in an attempt to collect cells from the mass. She will then evaluate the cells to check if any are cancerous. However, this test can be inconclusive. The sample taken is so small, it is possible there are cancer cells within the mass but she just did not collect any with her needle. This brings us to surgical removal of the suspected area and then performing a biopsy on it. This is the only way to get a 100% diagnosis of the mass.
Blood work, urinalysis, and other diagnostic lab work may be suggested as a part of the diagnostic procedure. This will indicate if there are other issues going on internally in regards to organ function and blood production.
A Haircut Could Save Your Life
Today were featuring a guest post written by Skin Cancer Foundation President, Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD.
Dr. Sarnoff, are you aware that you have a black spot on your scalp? asked Manolita, the woman washing my hair. I was in the same chair, at the same salon with the woman who, for the past 25 years, has washed my hair during my monthly hair appointments.
Its not washing off, Manolita said. Then she held up a mirror for me.
I cant see anything, I replied. Two mirrors didnt help. Suddenly I had an idea: Can you take my cell phone out of my purse and snap a photo for me?
Looking at the photo on my iPhone, I started trembling. I almost fainted right there in the chair. The lesion had most of the classic ABCDE warning signs of melanoma: asymmetry, irregular borders, variegated colors and a large diameter. The E is for evolving or changing, but since this was the first time Id seen this spot on my scalp, I didnt know its history. Beginning to panic, I told Manolita, Just rinse out the shampoo and forget the haircut. Ill come back another time.
I immediately called my husband, Robert Gotkin, MD, a plastic surgeon who shares an office with me, and told him Please meet me at the office right away. I need to have this spot excised immediately. What if its a melanoma? I shuddered to think it, because scalp melanomas are the most lethal of all melanomas.
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If Youre Having Radiation Therapy To The Pelvis
Radiation therapy to the pelvis can cause side effects such as:
- Bladder problems
- Fertility problems
- Changes in your sex life
You might also have some of the same problems people get from radiation to the abdomen, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Radiation to the pelvis can cause problems with urination, including:
- Pain or burning sensations
- Blood in the urine
- An urge to urinate often
Most of these problems get better over time, but radiation therapy can cause longer-term side effects as well:
What Does Your Thyroid Have To Do With Your Hair
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is ten times more common in women, though men may also develop an underactive thyroid as well.
According to Armani, thyroid hormones help regulate metabolism, heart rate, and your overall mood. It also affects the rate at which the body uses oxygen and energy, which can also affect hair and nail growth. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. When this process occurs, hair that is in the growing stage enters the resting and shedding stage, called telogen. Hair may stay in this stage longer than normal, causing more hair to fall out as less hair grows.
An overactive thyroid, Armani warns, can also cause hair loss. So it is important not to self-medicate. People with thyroid disorders need ongoing treatment and regular thyroid monitoring.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, some other signs that a person may have hypothyroidism include:
- Trouble getting or staying pregnant
- Frequently feeling cold, including cold hands and feet
- A slow heart rate
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