Although it is not clear what has changed in recent times, it seems that skin cancer is far more common now. I think it is a combination of things. Firstly, research into skin cancer and how to care for skin has increased our understanding of the disease. This has increased the number of awareness campaigns so that the average person is more conscious of skin cancer and what are the main causes. People will now check their skin and see their doctor if they have a concern. This may raise the number of cases being diagnosed but it also means more are being treated, and, in most of these cases, successfully. This article will give you some information on skin cancer and hopefully raise awareness of the issues involved.
Skin cancer is a disease where cancer cells form on the outer layers of the skin. In most cases the cancer cells stay there and are easy to treat. However some will spread and can start to form on internal organs. This is when skin cancer becomes really serious and can be fatal if not treated.
There are three types of cancer. The most common form is known as basal cell carcinoma. Most people are diagnosed with this form of the disease. It rarely spreads and is easy to treat.
Squamous cell carcinoma is also a common skin cancer. It is more common for this form of the disease to spread but usually to other skin cells close to it. Again, if caught early it is fairly easy to treat.
Melanoma is the third type of skin cancer and is far less common. It is also the most serious form of the disease because it is often malignant. It will spread to other parts of the body, including internally, affecting vital organs. It is also harder to detect by personal examination.
Signs and Symptoms
There are a multitude of different signs and symptoms that can develop. The overriding advice in spotting skin cancer is that if you notice an unusual mark on your skin that doesn’t go away or appears to be getting bigger then you should consult your doctor or a skin cancer professional.
Information on skin cancer confirms that a growth, an abnormal accumulation of cells, even a pimple that does not go away can be typical early signs of the disease. These marks normally occur on areas of the skin that are exposed to sunlight, like the face, neck, back and arms. However they can appear anywhere on the body.
Malignant melanoma will typically look like a brown spot or mole on the skin. This is often very hard to spot as many people are born with moles on their skin and get more as they grow older. If you notice a brown mark or mole on your skin that appears to be getting bigger then you should consult a professional for a proper diagnosis.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent skin cancer, however avoiding ultra-violet (UV) radiation is the best way to prevent it developing. You should avoid appliances like sun tanning beds that give off ultra-violet rays. The sun is the main source of UV rays and it is virtually impossible to avoid these rays (and in limited quantities sunlight is beneficial to the health). However when you are in the sun you should protect you skin. This can involve wearing clothes like long sleeve shirts, wide brimmed hats and sunscreen. You should also wear sunglasses for the eyes.