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Skin Conditions

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1735
  • Category: Cancer

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A boil also known as a furuncle is a deep infection of the hair follicle or oil gland. When a boil starts to break out the skin becomes red and quiet tender. After a few days the boil becomes a white this is puss collecting under the skin, the boil becomes even more painful. When individual boils cluster together they are called carbuncles. Boils are cause by an in infection with the bacterium Staphylococcus aurous, this is generally harmless. Golden staph can sometimes enter the skin; most staph infections develop into abscesses and can become serious very quickly. This germ can be present on normal skin and enters the body through tiny breaks in the skin or by traveling down a hair to the follicle and infect the skin casing a boil. Most common ways to get boils are though poor personal hygiene, poor nutritional intake, this leads to a weak immune system, presence of scraped scratched or chronic skin conditions, such as Psoriasis.

Being a diabetic, or in particular poorly controlled diabetes, or exposer to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin, can all cause boils to form! Boils could form anywhere on your skin, most common places for boils to form are on your face, neck, armpits or bottom. Some signs to look for are; small red tender lump, the skin will be red and swollen around the lump, an increase of size of the bump over the next few days (this is the boil filling with puss). Boils in severe cases will need medical treatment, if boils occur near eyes or nose see a doctor for expert help as the infection may reach your blood stream and enter the brain. In many cases boils will form a small white tip on this allows puss to drain out, and the boil to settle down.


Thrush is a common fungal infection; thrush mostly affects women and can be irritating and painful. Thrush forms in warm moist places, many different kinds of fungi live in the vagina, mouth and foreskin of the penis. Normally, your body and vaginal bacteria stop the overgrowth of Candida. However, if these change, the fungus can quickly multiply, leading to thrush. Thrush can be caused without sexual contact, although thrush can be spread from one person to another via sexual intercourse, thrush is likely to occur if you are pregnant or being taking contraceptive pills, if you are taking medication such as antibiotics, if you have poorly treated diabetes, poor immune system or under stress.

Symptoms for thrush vary between men and women. For women symptoms include; a white cheesy puss from the vagina, sting pain when urinating, burning sensation during intercourse, and the vagina may become itchy and swollen. Thrush can be treated by a small dissolving tablet known as pessaries that you place in the vagina, with creams from your local pharmacy. If this doesn’t work go see a doctor, they will perform test to find out if what you have is actually thrush, sex partners should get checked too, to prevent you from getting thrush again. Mean can apply genital cream on the penis or if uncircumcised under the foreskin.


Shingles is a chickenpox related disease that forms after the chicken pocks goes away the bacteria stays in your body in an inactive state, however when the bacteria becomes active it turns into a chickenpox like disease, shingles is the infection of a nerve and the skin around it. Shingles is caused by skin and nerve inflammation this is called the varicella zoster virus (VZV), this is the same virus which gives you chickenpox. When you rid of the chickenpox the VZV stays in your system in an inactive state, VZV can be reactivated when a person becomes under emotional stress, has a weak immune system, or becomes a cancer patient, this cause a large group of irritating little red dots over a part of your body.

Early symptoms of shingles are; headache, sensitive to light and flu like symptoms without a temperature, slight itching or tingling in certain parts of your body, or pain where a small area of rash may appear several days or in some cases weeks later. A rash can appear anywhere on the right or left side of the body (only one). At first the rash will form blisters, and then scab over, and after a few weeks the rash will finally clear up. This pain is the clearest sign of shingles. There is no pacific cure for shingles although there are treatments that will shorten the length of the illness, these include; antiviral medication to reduce pain and duration of shingles, pain medicines such as Panadol or Nurofen, and topical antibiotics applied strait to skin to stop infection on blisters.


Basal cell carcinoma is formed when one of the skins basal develops a deformity in its DNA. The main cause of damage to DNA in basal cells is the result of ultraviolet radiation, caused by sunlight and tanning beds. Although exposer to the sun doesn’t explain cancers that develop in parts of the body that aren’t normally exposed to the sun! This shows that other factors must occur to your risk of skin cancer such as; being exposed to toxic substances for long periods of time or even having a weak immune system.

Basal cell carcinoma usually grows slowly and I relatively painless, the skin is usually; pearly or waxy, white or light pink, flesh coloured or brown. In most cases the skin is raised slightly, you may have; a skin sore that bleeds easily, a sore that doesn’t heal, oozing or crusting spots in a saw, a scar like sore without injuring the area, irregular blood vessels in or around the spot, or a sore that is sunken-in, in the middle. Treatment depends on the size and depth of the cancer, where the cancer is, and your health. Treatment involves; removal of skin cancer via being cut out, scraping away cancer cells and using electric shocks to kill whatever is left, freezing cancer cells to death, or treatment using light.


Squamous cells are just below the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is caused when your cells die and new ones are not reoccurring as they should. Normally new cells move older cells to the surface of the skin where they die and are washed away; this process is controlled by your DNA. If the DNA is damaged this cycle is disrupted, this may cause cells to grow out of control. Majority of the damage to DNA in skin cells is cause by over exposure to UV radiation, the damage is cumulative, this means the more time you are exposed to UV radiation the more likely you are to develop skin cancer. Other factors include; therapeutic radiation, chemical toxins, human papillomavirus, and immunosuppressant drugs. Treatment methods for squamous cell carcinoma include; excision, curettage and electrodessication, mohs surgery, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery.


Melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer, last year there was over 11,500 new cases of melanoma in Australia; men are more likely to get melanoma then women, 1 in 14 men under the age of 85 and 1 in 23 women. You chance of getting melanoma triples if you have spent long periods of time exposed to UV radiation, or frequent cases of sunburn, especially in younger years. Other causes include; weak immune system, family history of melanoma, light skin that burns instead of tans, have had skin cancer before. There are many different kinds of melanoma so spotting it can be difficult, as it can be found anywhere on the body. Melanoma is usually found on men’s back, and women’s legs.

The first symptom of melanoma is a new mole or spot appearing or an older one changing. Other symptoms include, the spot or mole getting larger, the spot might begin to appear a wide range of colours, most common are; brown, black, blue, red, white and grey. If the mole becomes an irregular shape or a mole that becomes itchy every now and then or bleeds is also a sigh of a mole converting to a melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer, although diagnosed early it can be treated. The treatment for melanoma varies depending on how deep the melanoma has spread, treatment includes; surgery, having the cancer cut out, radiotherapy, kills cancer cells by destroying there DNA, chemotherapy, or by using anti-cancer drugs to slow down production of cancer cells or even cure.


This graphs shows that impact of skin cancer awareness isn’t enough to slow down the rate of skin cancer in Australia, the rate of people in Australia with skin cancer is still climbing is still climbing.1982 to 2007 there has been an increase of 132% in the amount of people who have skin cancer. In 2000 in Australia 350,000 people were diagnosed with some sort of skin cancer, in 2005 campaigns took off to make people aware of the danger of skin cancer, after two years in 2007, 432,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer, that is an increase of 82,000 people, advertising this on television isn’t enough to reach out to young people who are more worried about having a good looking tan then skin cancer.


Sun protection factor, majority of sunscreens with an SPF 15 or over does a sufficient job protecting your skin from UVB. S SPF is measured by its ability to protect the skin from UVB. Skin without sunscreen will burn after about 15 minutes in the sun; SPF 15+ protects the skin for over fifteen times longer, about five hours. (If in water sunscreen may wear off, re-apply every two hours). SPF 15 keeps out 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97% and SPF 50 keeps out 98%. The difference isn’t much, although if you have sensitive skin or a history of skin cancer, those slight percentages will make a difference.


* BETTER HEALTH CHANNEL, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Boils, 23/03/2013. * BLACKMORES, http://www.blackmores.com.au/health-topics/boils?gclid=CIn9ks3nkbYCFYoipQodYTcAoA, 23/03/2013 * GOVERNMENT OF WESTEN AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/2/417/2/thrush_fact_sheet.pm#How%20do%20you%20get%20thrush, 23/03/2013 * MEDICENE NET, http://www.medicinenet.com/shingles/article.htm, 23/03/2013 * SUN SMART, http://www.sunsmart.com.au/skin_cancer/types_of_skin_cancer, 23/3/2013 * CANCER RESEARCH, http://www.cancerresearch.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/incidence/age/, 24/03/2013 * SKIN CANCER FOUNDATION, http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained, 24/03/13

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