What is Skin Cancer?
Patients are often diagnosed with skin cancer when abnormal skin cells grow uncontrollably. This is the result of unrepaired DNA damage to the skin cells, which is almost always caused by the damaging UV rays of the sun or from using tanning beds. These damaging rays can trigger cell mutations or genetic defects, which lead to rapidly multiplying skin that form malignant tumors. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer patients in the United States. There are more than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than two million patients diagnosed annually. New causes of skin cancer pop up each year and outnumber instances of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. One in five Americans will develop cancer over the course of their lifetime.
What are The Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?
The Skin Cancer Foundation discusses five different types of skin cancer.
- Actinic Keratosis: Look for unusual or changing growth. Actinic keratosis spots can vary from person to person. Most actinic keratosis have a fine, sandpaper-like roughness. Some patients describe the affected area as feeling scaly and crusty
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: With this type of cancer, look for open sores that ooze, bleed or crust. Sores may remain open for weeks and once healed, will reopen and bleed again. Persistent, non-healing sores are a common symptom of early basal cell carcinoma
- Dysplastic Nevi: Patients afflicted with this form of cancer typically have a family history of dysplastic nevi and melanoma. Look for dark discoloration of the skin
- Melanoma: Look for new mole growths or existing growths that begin to grow or change significantly. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Signs include rough feeling bumps or lumps on the skin, which can become dome-shaped as they grow. In some rare cases, SCC grows underneath the nails, eventually destroying the nail
What Causes Skin Cancer?
According to the Mayo Clinic, skin cancer begins in the skin’s top layer, which is called the epidermis. Much of the skin damage leading to cancer is from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, however, some people develop skin cancer even after they’ve taken the appropriate precautions in the sun. Other factors may contribute to the development of skin cancer, such as toxic substance exposure or conditions that weaken the immune system.
How is Skin Cancer Treated?
Once cancer has been diagnosed, tests are completed in order to determine if the cancer has spread. This process is called staging. Once the cancer stage has been determined, treatment can be planned. There are five types of standard treatment options for skin cancer:
- Radiation Therapy
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Biologic Therapy
What are The Different Types of Cancer That Start in Skin Wrinkles?
Many things that contribute to skin wrinkles also contribute to the development of skin cancer. That is why it is so important to take the necessary steps to take care of your skin from an early age. An Australian study has proven that daily use of sunscreen can actually help slow down the aging process. It can also protect you against skin cancer. Your skincare regimen should be implemented daily in order for it to be effective, even if the sun isn’t actually showing itself.
Are Women More Likely to Develop Skin Cancer Than Men?
According to Cancer Research UK, men are actually more susceptible to skin cancer than women. A recent research study claimed that approximately 1,300 men a year die from malignant melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer), whereas only 900 women per year die from it. One thought as to why more men are dying from this type of cancer than women is that men might delay seeking help for it. Some experts feel that women have stronger immune systems than men and that this is the reason. Regardless of the reasons behind these statistics, both men and women should pay close attention to their skin and seek immediate treatment if they suspect something out of the ordinary is going on.
Expert Outlook on Skin Cancer
German researchers have identified a gene in men that makes them more susceptible to melanoma. Today, male incidence rates of melanoma re five times higher than they were 30 years ago. In the past 30 years, it’s gone from 2.7 per 100,000 to 17.2 per 100,000. One school of thought is that the time spent in the sun and in tanning beds is putting people at a higher risk for a disease that is very much preventable.
Any kind of cancer is serious business. It can happen to anyone at any age. Although there are many causes of skin cancer, it is one of the cancers that can be preventable. It is important that you take care of your skin and take steps to prevent skin cancer from occurring.