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Skin Cancer Facts: What You Need to Know

by Dr. Vasantha K S at 06.Feb.2018 on Cancer


Abstract:

The skin is an organ which protects the body against the harmful effects of sunlight, infection, injury, and helps regulate body temperature and moisture. This article talks about the most common type of cancer, namely, skin cancer which usually occurs in areas exposed to sunlight.

Image: Skin Cancer Facts: What You Need to Know

Contents


Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of skin cells, forming a tumorous mass. It can be either benign (where the tumor can grow but not spread to other organs) or malignant (can spread to other organs). If it is detected early, it can be treated quickly with less scarring.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are several different types of skin cancer based on which layer of the skin it is arising from. The common types are:

  1. Squamous cell carcinoma.
  2. Basal cell carcinoma.
  3. Melanoma.

Signs and Symptoms

Depending on which type of skin cancer, the appearance can vary greatly. Look out for the following warning signs.

  • A non-healing sore that started as a patch or rash.
  • A growth that bleeds easily and crusts over.
  • Change in shape and size of existing marks or discolorations.
  • Formation of ulcers, rough, and scaly areas.
  • Lesions that are painful, tender or itchy.
  • Red, translucent bumps that are shiny and pearly.
  • A raised area with a central lump.

Causes

  1. Long-term sun exposure.
  2. Episodes of severe sunburn at a very early age.
  3. Repeated exposure to radiation.
  4. Unusual scars on the skin.
  5. Weakened immune system.
  6. Frequent exposure to certain chemicals.
  7. Tanning beds.

Risk Factors

  • Being fair-skinned.
  • Exposure to UV radiation.
  • Certain skin conditions.
  • A family history of skin cancer.
  • Elderly population.
  • Having many moles in the body, especially dysplastic nevi.

Prevention

  1. Avoid mid-day sun.
  2. Use sunscreen lotions, even on cloudy days.
  3. Wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  4. Avoid tanning booths.
  5. Do self-examination of skin to look for changes, and to detect them early, if any.

Diagnosis

In case you or your physician spot a suspicious-looking sore on the skin, you will be referred to a dermatologist who can make a diagnosis based on its characteristic appearance alone. He may also order a skin biopsy to confirm his diagnosis where a sample tissue is removed from the site and sent away to a lab for examination under a microscope.

For more information consult a skin cancer specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist/skin-cancer

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