Statistics have it that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the estimated number of Americans who develop skin cancer is over three million yearly. Worrying, right? Even worse is how there is an upsurge among young people.
The good thing is that skin cancer is preventable. How? You may ask. Well, with some prevention measures like being more sun savvy and protecting your body appropriately from the UV rays can go a long way.
Do you want to find out more about skin cancer? Please read on.
What is skin cancer?
Cancer is the formation of abnormal cells in the body. When these abnormal cells form in your skin, this becomes skin cancer. Skin cancer occurs in the outermost skin layer. It develops mainly because of mutations due to unrepaired DNA damage. The mutations cause the skin cells to multiply, forming malignant tumors.
Facts you need to know about skin cancer
Having seen what skin cancer is, you need to know some crucial facts about skin cancer. Knowing the ins and outs of skin cancer helps you demystify all the myths that you will encounter.
• Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer
BCC, also referred to as the basal cell skin cancer, is the most common of all skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, 8 out of 10 skin cancers are BCC. It develops mainly in sun-exposed areas, such as the neck, scalp, ears, back, and shoulders.
Other types of skin cancers that are also common include:
• Squamous cell carcinoma: This form of cancer also develops on sun-exposed skin areas. These areas include lips, ears, scalp, or the back of your hands. It is not life-threatening cancer if detected and treated early. But if not, it can be aggressive and cause severe complications.
• Melanoma: It is the least type of skin cancer but the most severe. It can occur on any part of your body, even those not exposed to the sun. It can develop on the palm of your hands and the soles of your feet.
• Skin cancer kills one American per hour
Did you know that every hour one person dies as a result of skin cancer in America? Well, according to the American Cancer Society, this is the truth.
Other notable statistics include:
• One in every five Americans is at risk of skin cancer by the time they are 70 years
• The cost of treating skin cancer in the U.S is estimated to be $8.1 billion annually
• Having more than five sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer
• Anyone can get skin cancer
There is a misconception that only light skin people are at risk of skin cancer. The truth is that anyone can get it. Even though dark skin people have more pigment to protect them from the sun, they are also at risk. Whether your skin is dark, light, or in between, you can get skin cancer. Surprisingly, people without exposure to the sun are also at risk of skin cancer.
In a nutshell, skin cancer is not a respecter of persons. Men, women, teenagers, and young children of any race are at risk.
• Most skin cancers are as a result of UV light
The leading cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. Sunlight is the primary source of UV rays. These rays can also be found in sunlamps and tanning beds. Also, to note is that early exposure to the sun as a child increases skin cancer risk.
However, not all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. There are some other risk factors associated with skin cancer. Smokers, for example, are more prone to skin cancer, which may develop on their lips. Other risk factors include:
• Exposure to certain chemicals
• Family history
• Skin cancer can form on any part of your body
Any part of your body can develop skin cancer. Your face, however, is the most common part. The reason being it’s the most exposed part of the body to the sun. Other high-risk body parts are lips, neck, ears, and the head.
It is also baffling that even the places that are not exposed to the sun can also develop skin cancer. The non-exposed parts mainly develop skin cancer on dark skin people. However, in women, skin cancer forms mostly in the torso, especially those aged 15-29 years.
• Regular skin checks are important
The Skin Cancer Foundation advises a head to toe self-examination every month. It helps you notice any unusual changes in your skin and alert your doctor. Remember, skin cancer is curable if treated early. Cultivate the habit of visiting a doctor for regular checkups, especially if you are exposed to the risk factors.
While regular checks may not prevent cancer from forming, they are pivotal in early diagnosis of skin cancer, leading to treatment at an early stage.
• There are warning signs of skin cancer
Like every other cancer, skin cancer has signs and symptoms that can signal danger and prompt you to see a doctor for a comprehensive checkup. Below are some warning signs you can look out for. These are:
• A small lump or mole that changes in color and size
• A firm red lump
• Sores or spots that bleed or do not heal
• Dark lesions on your toes, lip, anus, and vagina
• Scaly and rough patches on your skin
The statistics on skin cancer are scary. However, the good thing is that skin cancer is treatable with early diagnosis. As mentioned, look out for the warning signs and make sure you have regular skin examination from a skin specialist.
Are you in Naples, FL, and searching for a Naples skin cancer specialist? Be at ease. Schedule a visit with the Aesthetic Surgery Centre for an in-depth skin cancer diagnosis. We offer personalized and updated treatment options to get you back at your healthy self.