Malignant Skin Tumours

Among the malignant tumours that can affect the epidermis and the adjacent mucous membranes are basal cell carcinomas (basaloma), squamous cell carcinomas (epitheliomas) and malignant melanomas. Out of every 100,000 inhabitants in Western Europe, 20 people a year contract basal cell carcinoma, 12 people squamous cell carcinoma, and 14 people malignant melanom. In sunny countries such as Australia and the southern states of the USA, the number of people who suffer these kind of tumours is ten to twenty times higher. Altogether, the number of cases, especially of melanomas, has been increasing dramatically. Since 1970, the incidence has nearly doubled every 10 years. It is currently estimated that 1 in every 75 inhabitants of America will contract melanoma. The most common age at which people contract basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma is between 60 and 80; malignant melanoma tends to affect people in their middle years. In Western Europe, basal cell carcinoma affects both sexes equally. In the …

Viral Infections

There are many viral infections of the skin. Various kinds of warts (e.g. verruca vulgaris and (molluscum contagiosum) are pure skin infections, for example, while chicken pox, rubella (German measles) and hepatitis B and C are general viral infections which also involve the skin. Herpes zoster and herpes simplex, which particularly tends to occur again and again, are relatively common viral infections of the skin. Viruses are not able to metabolise by themselves. To cause an infection, they have to enter the cells of the human organism. The ports of entry for viruses are the mucous membranes during breathing, the digestive tract and the skin. Herpes zoster (shingles) Herpes zoster is caused by the varizella zoster virus. On initial infection, the virus causes chicken pox, which nearly every person suffers as a child. As the immune system weakens in middle or advanced age, the viruses which have stayed in the nerve ganglions after the initial infection can be reactivated. The …