Cancerous tumors that arise from the skin are divided in three main types: basal-cell skin cancer (BCC), squamous-cell skin cancer (SCC) and melanoma. Skin tumors are usually of primary nature, which means they start to grow in the skin, with the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. A neoplasm or also called a tumour is a group of cells that have undergone unregulated growth and may form a mass, but can also be distributed diffusely throughout the body.
Tumour cells show a number of characteristics, including abnormal cell growth and division absence of programmed cell death, high number of cell divisions, promoting of blood vessel formation, invasion of tissue and metastasis.
Signs and symptoms of the disease are wide and may include changes in the skin colour or appearance of ulcerating skin, as well as changes in birthmarks. Risk factors for developing skin cancer include sunbathing, smoking tabacco, usage of immunosuppressive medications, and HPV infections.
These tumors are classified by its histological appearance, and treatments are depending on the specific type of cancer, and location of the tumor. A surgical intervention is often used in early stage diagnosis, in combination with a chemotherapy and/or a radiotherapy/brachytherapy. Skin tumors are type of cancers that are already treated with immunotherapeutic approaches (monoclonal antibodies), as well as with genetic targeted treatments as i.e. BRAF- or MEK-inhibitors.
For skin cancer, a synergising concept is determined, that consists of the combination of an immune priming approach, immune activation approach, and a systemic treatment that works in synergy with the immunotherapeutic approaches. Within a synergising concept, one needs to consider all aspects of the patient’s medical history, other diagnosis, and general well-being, as well as the available diagnostic constellations and ongoing treatments. Within a synergising concept, one is highly considering a precision-based combination of therapies that are evaluated for each individual case.
In case of a suspicion of a skin tumor, usually, and following a comprehensive physical examination and biopsy of the suspicious skin area, a scan staging is performed, which helps to see whether the cancer has already spread to other tissues (metastasis). The biopsy is helpful in order to determine the dignity of the tumor. A histopathological analysis can determine the exact (cell) type of the tumor. There are different types of tumors known, and each of them presents unique genetic characteristics.
What most patients do not know is, that when the first examination on the biopsy has been performed (to determine the tumor type), the tissue is kept and stored at the histopathology department of the hospital, where the biopsy has been performed. This stored tissue material can be used for thorough (genetic) tissue analyses and in-depth sequencing. It is known that tumors show the accumulation of several genetic modifications, thus providing cancer cells with the selective growth advantage to initiate expansion. Now, sophisticated high-throughput technologies enable the identification of these mutated genes in cancers that can lead to a potent targeted therapy.
It is crucial to perform a thorough broad-spectrum screening so that every patient has a chance to explore all possibilities of a targeted treatment, may it be in a private setting or a clinical trial elsewhere. So it is most important to first find a laboratory that looks for all markers and mutations, and second, to find an oncologist who is willing to work with you in the best (and targeted) way possible.
Step 1 : Contact us
Important: Our oncological team is happy to talk to you by phone to get a deeper understanding about your specific case, enabling to provide you with a provisional treatment plan and cost estimate. Our oncologists will provide you all the details on medications, therapeutics and treatments including underlying mechanism and side effects. After a physical examination and an in-depth discussion with you on-site, the definite treatment plan will be discussed. Please understand that complex medical processes as mentioned above can only be explained through a thorough consultation on-site.