Skin cancer is amongst the most common kinds of cancer and is usually easy to detect. It develops mostly on the areas of your skin that are most exposed to the sun, including hands and arms, chest, neck, ears, face, lips, scalp, and legs. However, it can also be found in hidden areas like toenails or fingernails, palms, etc.
According to Doctors In Banora Point, skin cancers form when mutations take place in your skin cells’ DNA. These errors cause cells to grow uncontrollably and lead to the formation of the mass of cancer cells. Skin cancer begins in the top layer of your skin, which offers a protective cover. The top skin or epidermis has 3 main kinds of cells –
- Melanocytes – These produce melanin or the pigment that provides skin its normal color and are located in your epidermis’s lower part. Melanocytes produce increased melanin when a person is in the sun to protect deeper layers of the skin.
- Basal cells – These sit beneath squamous cells and produce new skin cells.
- Squamous cells – They function as the inner lining of the skin and lie just below the skin’s outer surface.
Types Of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma – It generally occurs in the sun-exposed body parts like your face and neck. It is the most commonly seen type of skin cancer and may appear as –
- A flat, brown scar-like or flesh-colored lesion.
- A waxy or pearly bump
- A scabbing or bleeding sore that heals but returns.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This usually occurs on the sun-exposed body parts like your hands, ears, and face. People with darker skin tone are more likely to have this type of cancer in areas that are not exposed to the sun that much. Its symptoms are –
- A flat lesion with crusted, scaly surface.
- A red, firm nodule
Melanoma – It is the least commonly seen skin cancer and is capable of developing anywhere on the body, including existing mole that may become cancerous. Melanoma is usually found in the trunk or face of men and lower legs in women. However, in both cases, it can occur on the skin that is not exposed to the sun. This kind of skin cancer can affect people having any skin tone. However, in people with deeper skin tones, it can occur on the soles, palms, or under toenails or fingernails. Its symptoms are –
- A painful lesion that burns or itches
- A mole that changes in size, color, feel.
- A mole that bleeds
- A large brownish spot on the skin with darker speckles
- A small lesion with irregular borders as well as portions that appear blue, white, red, pink, or blue-black.
- Dark lesions on your soles, palms, toes or fingers, or mucous membranes
Risk Factors Of Skin Cancer
- Moles – People who have numerous moles or abnormal moles are at increased risk of developing skin cancer.
- Fair skin – People with any skin tone can get skin cancer. But, having less pigment or melanin in the skin gives decreased protection from dangerous UV radiation. If you possess light-colored eyes, red hair, or blond hair, and your sunburn or freckle easily, you are more likely to get skin cancer.
- Excessive sun exposure – Anyone spending a lot of time in the sun can develop skin cancer, specifically if the skin is not protected by clothing or sunscreen. Tanning also increases risk. A tan is the response of your skin to excessive UV radiation.
- Sunburn history – Individuals with a history of blistering sunburns are more at risk.
- Precancerous skin lesions – Actinic keratoses or skin lesions can increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Such precancerous skin growths generally appear as scaly, rough patches that differ in color from dark pink to brown. They are most common on the head, hands, and dace of fair-skinned people with sun-damaged skin.
- Other factors – If you have a weakened immune system, a family history of skin cancer, personal history of skin cancer, exposure to radiation, and exposure to certain substances like arsenic.
Prevention Of Skin Cancer
- Do not expose yourself to the sun from 12 noon to 4 p.m., when the sun rays are the strongest.
- Apply a generous layer of sunscreen all around the year, even in winters and cloudy days. This is because clouds do not filter all the UV radiation. Your sunscreen must have SPF 30. Also, reapply sunscreen every few hours if you perspire or swim. Apply the sunscreen on your lips, ears, neck, and back of your hands.
- Wear sunglasses, hats, and full sleeves clothes while stepping out in the bright sun. You can also invest in photoprotective clothing.
- Examine your skin frequently for changes in existing bumps, birthmarks, freckles, and moles or new skin growths on your face, scalp, ears, neck, trunk and chest, and all parts of your body.
Skin cancer can be prevented by following the precautionary tips mentioned above. Although some people are more at risk of developing skin cancer, you can avoid it with proper knowledge and protection.