The dreadful case of a man living with a dragon horn on his back has stunned the world. This case is recently published in BMJ Case Report mentioning a man with a unique horn-like mass on his back as a result of untreated cancer for years. The images of this horn are also published which makes this patient look like a living human dragon.
This condition is medically called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) which is an extremely common type of non-melanoma skin cancer.
As to reports, this patient is a 50 years old male who is a laborer by profession. Surprisingly, he didn’t get exposed to any other ‘standard’ risk factors for this condition or skin cancer. For example, no exposure to direct sunlight, no medical history of cancer, no family history of skin cancer, etc. His immune system was active and responsive. However, he was reportedly a smoker but cigarettes alone are less likely to result in something like this.
This is the first time that a unique case of massive skin horn has come into the news with no obvious risk factors or history behind it.
This cancer growth is located on the lower part of this man’s spine. Its size is nearly 14 cm (or 5.5 inches) in length and it measures nearly 6 cm or 2.4 inches in thickness. Normally, the cutaneous horns like these are a result of any benign tumor as well as pre-malignant, or malignant tumors. It is rare for the squamous cell carcinoma to cause a malignant base as seen in approximately 94 percent of the cases.
Medical experts recommend the surgical removal of this type of cancer. This patient was also reportedly advised the same and a group of experienced doctors removed this horn under general anesthesia which made him look like a living human dragon.
The doctors also had to cut a big part of the healthy skin around the horn as well. It left the patient with nearly 8mm skin removal around the growth and 7mm in depth. To cover this gap, the doctors took a patch from the patient’s thigh which was healthy skin and grafted it on his back to reconstruct the skin there.
Normally, more than 60% of cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in early stages and treated within time. It is rare for the cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma to grow this big and make a person look like a living human dragon. Note that; this particular case is reported from the UK which offers free healthcare for all its locals. The medical experts are extremely concerned over this case and suggest that even after such mass-scale awareness on skin cancer and efforts of healthcare units, the cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is still an unresolved issue in the UK and probably needs more adverse steps.
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The cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is highly prevalent and it is reported in 20% of all skin cancers. In the US, the risk is so higher that every one in eight people develop cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma at some point in their life.
The most common risk factors contributing to the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma include light skin pigment, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, lingering wounds, exposure to arsenic, the prevalence of HPV disease, and having a poor immunity. The treatment turnover is somehow good as most of the patients recover from it on time. It has a low mortality rate despite causing complications such as reported in this case of the living human dragon.