In the last 30 years, more people in the world have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined. It is one of the most common forms of cancer, but also one of the most ignored. With more and more people around the world being diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s important to understand what skin cancer is, what the risk factors and symptoms are, and how to protect yourself against the risk.
What is skin cancer?
This form of cancer is common and is defined as a destructive cancerous growth of the skin. Caused by cells along the membrane that separate superficial layers of skin from the deeper ones, skin cancer is categorized into three major types. Most of the forms of skin cancer have a limited potential to metastasize and become life-threatening.
What are the risk factors and symptoms?
The most common risk factor for developing skin cancer is UV light exposure from tanning beds or the sun. Fair-skinned individuals are especially at-risk, as are people who live in higher elevation areas and regions around the equator. Those who suffer from an already-suppressed immune system or are exposed to radiation are more at risk than others.
Symptoms of skin cancer can vary greatly. Some forms of skin cancer have little to no symptoms. Signs of skin cancer can include raised patches of skin that could itch or crust, pink lesions that are crusted in the middle, or the appearance of shiny translucent, pink, or red bumps. Other symptoms can include a wart-like growth, open sores that do not go away, persistent, red patches, or patches of skin that bleed easily.
How do you prevent skin cancer?
Since skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, prevention is key to avoid a bad prognosis. A few easy tips to avoid skin cancer include staying out of the sun when possible, staying away from tanning beds, and covering up the skin when exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. It is also advisable to always use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of over 15 when being exposed to the sun. Spend time looking at your skin for any abnormalities and be sure to see your physician once a year for an exam or if you find something suspicious on your skin.
Skin cancer may be one of the most common forms of cancer, but it is also one of the most easily prevented. A simple daily regimen of sunscreen and checking over your skin could save you from a skin cancer prognosis. When in doubt, trust your concerns and questions with professionals. Call us today to discuss any of your skin cancer inquiries or worries.