White skin cancer is the most common cancer in Germany. A new study by the University Medical Center (UMR) has now developed a new treatment method: a radioactive paste is said to be able to kill tumor cells through local radiation. An overview.
With more than 200,000 new cases per year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in Germany. So far, the disease has been treated primarily with surgery or radiation therapy. A new German study gives hope for alternative treatment options. According to their own statements, scientists at the Rostock University Medical Center (UMR) have successfully treated white skin cancer with radioactive paste.
As part of the study, a greyish, nondescript paste was applied to 22 patients using a special device. “All participating patients showed a response, and most were cured in the long term,” confirms dermatologist Steffen. However, according to Ralf Gutzmer, chairman of the Working Group on Dermatological Oncology, the novel procedure still needs to be evaluated further.
During treatment with the radioactive paste, surrounding tissue is said to be covered with foil to protect it from radiation. The local radiation is intended to kill the tumor cells. But that only works if the cancer is detected early and has not yet penetrated too deeply.
According to the UMR, a single outpatient treatment is sufficient, in which the paste acts for one to two hours. In the following weeks, inflammation, itching and burning should occur. When it subsides, the complexion normalizes and the skin cancer is gone.
The novel study is to be presented at the German Skin Cancer Congress in September. A further 25 patients are being sought for a worldwide study. So the paste has not yet been used. In practice, the effort, costs, side effects and effectiveness must also be weighed up in comparison to conventional procedures such as surgery or radiotherapy.
White skin cancer is a generic term for skin tumors that differ from black skin cancer (melanoma). The latter often resembles a dark birthmark or mole. White skin cancer includes two types of cancer:
White skin cancer is significantly more common than black. If it is detected early, the skin changes can usually be completely removed.
In order to detect white skin cancer at an early stage, you should regularly examine your own body for abnormalities and take advantage of medical check-ups. The earlier skin cancer is discovered, the better it can be treated.
The development of basal cell cancer can be recognized in the early stages by a shiny translucent or waxy nodule. The edge can be occupied by smaller nodules. In addition, some blood vessels can be seen under the top layer.
In the second stage, the center of the nodule bulges, the area is weeping and sore – the collapsed ulcer is a sign that the tumor is growing. Another sign is that the wound does not heal or alternately heals and bleeds again.
A clearly demarcated, shiny, reddish, or pink scaly spot can also be a sign of basal cell carcinoma. In some cases they are also dark or look like a pale scar.
A squamous cell carcinoma is much more difficult to detect. The first sign is a scaly, reddened or brownish-yellow patch of skin. A scaly or crusted wound that sometimes bleeds and has calloused areas can also indicate squamous cell cancer. It often forms on the edge of the ears or on the face, including the lips.
Sun or UV radiation is the biggest risk factor. Direct exposure to the sun without protection – i.e. without sunscreen and clothing – contributes to the development of white skin cancer. With more and more sun exposure and increasing age, the ability of the cells to repair decreases, so that defective cells multiply. As a result, skin cancer can develop.
In addition to the greatest risk factor of UV radiation, there are other risks that generally increase the likelihood of illness. The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) summarizes them as follows:
Avoiding direct exposure to UV rays is the best protection against skin cancer. The German Cancer Society (DKG) has the following protection tips ready:
In general, it is advisable to ensure adequate sun protection as early as March and April. There is already high UV radiation here, which can be attributed to the low ozone values caused by climate change.