Skin Cancer. Everyone knows that it is a very harmful disease, but many don’t know the depths of the different types and what they can do to you. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “…it is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.” Its important to recognize how easy it is to get skin cancer especially if you have a family history of any type. Keep reading on to find out more about it today.
Now there are several ways of getting skin cancer, one of the more obvious ones being sun exposure. The UV rays can be extremely harmful to your skin and damage those skin cells causing cancer. The UV rays from tanning beds are just as dangerous as that of the actual sun. Frequent sunburns put you at high risk for different types of cancers. The risks are greater for those who have fair skin, freckled skin that burns easily, light eyes and blond or red hair. Even though anyone, even darker skin individuals can be susceptible, others like those just listed have a higher risk.
What Are The Types Of Skin Cancer?
There are five different types of skin cancers and there are several things to look out for in case of getting diagnosed with any of these.
1. Actinic Keratose: This typically will look like a red or pink rough and scaly patch on a sun-exposed area of your skin. This is usually the precursor to squamous cell carcinoma. It is claimed that up to 1% of these lesions can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
2. Basal Cell Carcinoma: Raised, pink, waxy bumps that may bleed from time to time following minor injury may be the result of this type of cancer. You may find superficial blood vessels and a central depression.
3. Melanoma: This is a pretty common type of cancer amongst humans. It is a neoplasm of pigment producing cells and generally a brown or black skin lesion with irregularities in symmetry, border and coloration. Unfortunately, there are 100,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the United States each year.
4. Kaposi’s Sarcoma: This is a rare cancer of the cells. This is clinically a brown-red to blue color which causes the cells that line blood vessels to become cancerous in the setting of profound and prolonged immunosuppression.
5. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is probably the most common skin cancer amongst transplant patients. It tends to look like a dull red, rough, scaly raised skin lesion. These occur frequently on sun exposed areas, such as your head, neck, ears, lips, back of hands and forearms.
How Do I Prevent Skin Cancer?
One important thing to note is that peak sun hours are between 10am and 4pm and it’s best to seek shade between these times as you could be more prone to being sunburnt. If you choose to be in the sun, avoid being sunburned by applying sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or more. Less than that may be less effective, especially if you have fair skin. Avoid using tanning beds if at all possible, these are another major cause for catching this disease. Make sure to examine your skin from head to toe at least once a month for warning signs. Lastly, it can also be important to visit a physician for a professional skin cancer exam, especially if there is a family history.