You may be aware that skin cancer is the number one type of cancer reported in the U.S. Every year 1 million cases of skin cancer are reported.
The sad fact is that many instances of skin cancer could be avoided because many skin cancers are triggered by the skin’s exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The more time you spend unprotected in the sun, the more susceptible you are to developing skin cancer.
The good news is that the National Institute of Cancer reports that despite the 1 million new cases of skin cancer each year, there are approximately less than 1,000 deaths. Skin cancer caught early can be treated successfully.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – Melanoma
Melanoma is the most dangerous and aggressive form of skin cancer that develops in the pigment cells (melanocytes) of the skin. Melanoma can usually be treated and cured if detected early. Since there is no way for you to determine if a skin discoloration is Melanoma, it is important to show any suspicious skin changes to a doctor.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – nonmelanoma skin cancer
While there are a number of different types of skin cancer, basal cell and Squamous cell are the two main forms of no melanoma skin cancer. Just because these cancers are not melanoma does not mean that they are not dangerous and may just be ignored.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – changing skin lesions
Much is said about the relationship between changing size and shape of skin lesions in relation to skin cancer. Keep in mind that every change in a mole, sunspot, or age spot does not necessarily indicate cancer. The National Cancer Institute recommends watching for ABCDs of skin changes: (A) Asymmetrical or disproportionate growth or change, (B) Boarders that are not smooth but irregular in shape, ( C) Coloration that is significantly different from other moles or spots, or coloration that is splotchy and irregular, and (D) Diameter larger than about 5mm.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – sunburns and UV rays
Severe sunburns can lead to the development of skin cancer. However, if your skin has been exposed slowly to the sun over an extended period of time, you are still at risk for developing skin cancer. It is not a sunburn that leads to cancer, it is the exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – risk factors
The primary cancer is exposure to UV rays of the sun. There are things you can do, however to help minimize your risk factors for developing melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, or Squamous cell carcinoma. Reduce sun exposure by using sunscreen with UV protection, wear tightly woven clothing that will shield your skin from the sun, and reduce your time in the sun especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the Sun’s rays are most intense.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – controlling risk factors
While there are some risk factors associated with skin cancer that you can avoid, including exposure to UV and other known
Skin cancer may also develop as a result of a weakened autoimmune disease. The body’s autoimmune system can be weakened by certain autoimmune suppressant medications, autoimmune diseases, and organ transplants.cancer triggers, other risk factors cannot be avoided. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to develop cancer. This means it is important to know your family’s history of cancer.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – African Americans and skin cancer
While skin cancer is less common among people of color, it is a myth that African Americans cannot get skin cancer. Many people assume that extra melanin in the skin protects them from skin cancer. This does not change the fact that the most common factor in skin cancer is exposure to the sun’s UV rays. People of color are susceptible, albeit less frequently than Caucasians, to basal cell and Squamous cell carcinoma.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – Young women and melanoma
The greatest rise in the occurrence of melanoma is among young women ages 15 to 39 increasingly annually between 39 and 50 % according to the National Cancer Institute.
This is an incredibly rise considering melanoma has traditionally been most common among older adults. While the National Institute of Cancer refuses to acknowledge a cause in the increased incidence among young Caucasian women. It seems, however, that the obsession with being tan, either from outdoor tanning or tanning bed use. It is best to avoid skin exposure between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.melanoma is among young women ages 15 to 39 increasingly annually between 39 and 50 % according to the National Cancer Institute.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – tanning
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has recently been under pressure to upgrade the medical classification of tanning beds. Currently, tanning beds are classified in the same category as tongue depressors and bandages. Pressure is on the FDA to upgrade tanning beds to a classification II, as they are considered a cancer causing device by the medical profession. Part of this move is to eliminate mirrors from tanning beds to intensify UV rays.
Concern about the dangers of tanning may also lead to new taxes on tanning, in an effort to discourage tanners from exposing their body to dangerous, cancer causing UV rays.
Things you need to know about skin cancer – treatment
Skin cancer can usually be effectively treated if caught early. It is especially important to treat melanoma early because if left untreated it can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.
The most common, and highly effective, treatment for skin cancer is surgical removal of the lesion. In some cases of no cancer topical treatment may be effective. The important thing is to see your doctor as soon as you suspect you may have skin cancer.
African Americans Can Get Skin Cancer: This Summer Protect Yourself, National Cancer Institute
Melanoma 101: Introduction to Deadly Skin Cancer, medicine net.com
Melanoma Incidence Among Young Women Rising in the U.S., cancer.gov
Reinberg, Steven, FDA Panel Weighs New Restrictions on Tanning beds, Skin Cancer Foundation
Szabo, Liz. Tanning Bed faces New Taxes and Restrictions, Skin Cancer Foundaton
What You Need to Know about Skin Cancer, cancer.gov