Skin cancer rates have been rising and account for one-third of new cancers. According to research, the largest contributing factor is, people are not protecting their skin from the sun. The most frequent cause of skin cancer is over-exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, so you should avoid excessive sun exposure. Research has shown that between eighty and ninety percent of skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Early signs of skin cancer
Skin cancer is a malignant growth on the skin which develops in the epidermis (first layer of the skin) and so it can be easily seen. The two most common types of skin cancer are the basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These are not likely to spread to other parts of the body. The most dangerous type of skin cancer is malignant melanoma, which is not treated early, can be fatal.
What basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma look like?
Basal cell carcinoma usually looks like a raised, smooth pearly white bump or spot on the skin. It usually appears on an area that has been exposed to the sun, such as the neck and the shoulders. Most often, a crust and bleeding occur in the center of the tumor, and this can be taken as a sore that is hard to heal.
Squamous cell carcinoma usually looks like a red, scaly, thick patch on the skin. Bleeding can occur and if not treated, it will increase in size.
Research has stated that melanoma is the deadliest kind of skin cancer, and is the number one cancer in the twenty-five to twenty-nine age group. Over a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and most are curable if detected early. Melanoma is most often found on the chest and back in men, and on the legs in women, but they can also appear on the soles of the feet, the palms of your hands, the back of the neck, and the bald area of the scalp. Skin cancer can also occur anywhere on your skin.
Know what to look out for
Just one or two sunburns in your youth can develop in skin cancer later in life, although it can take many years for the signs to the surface. Has your skin examined at least once a year for skin cancer? Use a mirror or ask someone to check the places that are hard for you to see.
Look out for moles with an irregular shape with two parts that look very different, or one half does not look like the other half, this is called (asymmetry), has irregular border or has jagged edges, has more than one color (maybe black, brown, blue, white, Grey, red, or pink, more than 6 mm in diameter, is itchy, oozes or bleeds. If a new mold appears during adulthood you should have it checked by your doctor.
When are moles dangerous?
Moles may rarely turn into skin cancer. If a mole becomes cancerous, it would be melanoma. An early sign of melanoma is seeing a change in the size of a mole, irregular border, color changes, and other changes may signify that a mole is a melanoma. Be diligent and notify your doctor as soon as possible with any changes in a mole, especially a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of the mole.
Keep out of the sun
One of the most important things you can do to protest yourself against skin cancer is to limit your exposure to the sun. Research states that the sun’s ultraviolet rays have been linked to skin cancer, melanoma, and cataracts. People with the risk of skin cancer are people with light skin, age, a family history of melanoma, a tendency to develop moles, and had previous bad sunburns. People with darker skin can also get skin cancer. It is very important to get medical attention for any new and changing moles on your skin, no matter what your skin type may be. Protect yourself.
What can you do to help
You can limit the time you spend in the sun, especially between 11 a.m and 4 p.m. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 or greater that will block the sun’s damaging rays. Apply it before you go outside. Wear protective hat and clothing, and sunglasses built to filter out ultraviolet radiation.
Check the moles on your skin, as certain kinds of moles are signs of melanoma. Because melanoma is a dangerous form of cancer, doctors recommend that you check your body every month for any moles that look different from your other moles, such as a mole with one half that doesn’t match the other, a mole with irregular borders, color changes or other changes.
According to research, more men die of melanoma than women and this could be that men are less conscious of their skin and may not tell their doctor about any new or changing mole he has.
Treatment of skin cancer
Treatment of skin cancer usually involves the removal of the legion, making sure that the edges are free of cancer cells. The lesion can be removed by surgery, radiation therapy, or freezing off the legion (cryotherapy).
You should also see a dermatologist every three years for a skin examination. If someone in your family has had melanoma and you are at risk for skin cancer, you will need to be examined twice a year. If skin cancer runs in your family but you don’t have risk factors, you can get checked once every year.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Reducing your exposure to the sun and performing regular skin checks are the key to reduce your risk of skin cancer. The main risk factors for melanoma are age and sun exposure especially getting sunburns that blister the skin. The best way to protect against skin cancer is to wear a wide-brim hat and long sleeve-shirt and whenever possible try to stay in the shade. You will still need to look for early signs cancer so you can talk to your doctor before it’s too late. You can learn what is normal for you by checking your skin regularly so you can easily point out any changes in your skin and most of all, limit the amount of time you spend in the sun.
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