With the help of a new study, researchers are starting to understand what happens in the body to make skin cancer a more aggressive and more aggressive form of the disease.
They’re also starting to unravel how to prevent the disease in the first place.
“It’s been known for years that skin cancer is one of the top causes of death in women, but it was not clear exactly what it was,” said Dr. Jennifer S. Schmitt, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the study’s senior author.
“What we’re finding is that the disease is a lot more aggressive than we thought,” she added.
“We’re now seeing skin cancers in people that are very young, in people with very different lifestyles, and in people who are very, very old,” she said.
“If you’ve been to the hospital, you’ll know what it is: a benign skin cancer.
And if you’ve ever seen a dermatologist, they’ll tell you that it’s a very aggressive form.”
The question is: What’s going on?
We don’t know.””
But we can treat the immune cells, and that can lead to some really great results.””
We can’t see a clear pathway from the immune system to the tumor, so it’s hard to treat.
But we can treat the immune cells, and that can lead to some really great results.”
The study is published in the journal Cancer Prevention.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota and the University at Buffalo all analyzed the data of more than 200,000 women with non-melanoma skin cancer and 6,000 healthy controls from the United States and Canada.
Researchers used genetic sequencing and other tests to study the genetic makeup of skin cancer cells.
The findings are based on a person’s age, whether the person has a history of other types of skin cancers, whether they had prior skin cancer, and whether they are a young adult or old adult.
The study’s authors believe that the cancer cells in the skin may be part of a larger tumor network, with the genes that control it being more similar to those in normal skin cells.
“When we think of skin, we think about how it looks,” said lead author Dr. Karen R. Gifford, a dermatology professor at the Monell Chemical Senses Center at the university.
“But we don’t really understand the mechanism by which that skin changes over time.”
Gifford believes that the changes may be linked to changes in the immune response, a process known as remodeling.
This remodeling can lead cells to break down their own genes, which can then be released into the bloodstream to attack other cells.
It’s possible that the skin cells could be responding to changes to the immune network, she said, by altering the structure of the tumor.
“There’s evidence that they are,” Giffords said.
“So, we have some idea that this skin cell network may be responsible for changes in skin that can cause the development of other skin cancers.”
The researchers say that they were able to determine how much of the skin was affected by the cancer, using a combination of skin biopsies, blood samples and other diagnostic tools.
They found that about 20 percent of women with cancer had at least one marker of the type of skin disease.
“It’s not a perfect measure, because it’s based on very specific tests, but we’re pretty close,” said Schmitt.
She said that the research has led her to believe that if the skin cancer were treated, it could reduce the risk of death from the disease by about one-third.
“I think there’s a good chance that we can do something about this, but until that happens, it’s really important to keep patients informed,” Schmitt said.
For more news, visit NBCNews.com/breastfeeding.
For an up-to-date list of health-related topics, visit the NBC News Health Blog.
For the full study, visit Cancer Prevention, and for more on the findings, visit Schmitt’s website.
Follow NBC News Investigations on Facebook and Twitter: