Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Let’s face it; no one wants skin cancer to show up in our fun in the sun summer time plans. Along with the bronze tan we seek, the real threat of skin cancer creeps in. Over one million people develop non-melanoma skin cancer every year. The good news is with early detection and treatment, the cure rate is near 100%.
One of the first warning signs of skin cancer is a noticeable difference in your skin such as a new growth or a persistent sore that will not heal. Other symptoms are a firm, transparent bump or a smooth skin lump with a raised border that may resemble a mole. Watch for red patches of irritated skin or a shiny area of tight skin that looks like a scar. You should pay close attention to any open sore that bleeds or oozes, and does not heal in three weeks time.
There are two types of non-melanoma skin cancer. Both forms usually appear on the face, and upper body. The nose is the most common spot for skin cancer to grow. Basal cell carcinoma occurs three times as often as the second type- Squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and accounts for more than ninety per cent of all skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. Thankfully, these cancers almost never spread to other parts of the body. There is evidence that some forms directly from intermittent sun exposure like that received during vacations.
Fair-skinned people are of course at a higher risk of developing some form. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause. Most appear after age 50, but the suns damaging effects begin at a much earlier age. Sun protection should start in early childhood to prevent any from showing up later in life.
Guard yourself and your loved ones by taking every precaution when playing or working in the sun. Avoiding the sun is the best way to lower your risk. Self-examination and regular medical check-ups are always a good idea if you have a history of skin cancer. Using daily sunscreen is an absolute must, especially with children. Sunscreen needs to be applied generously every couple of hours, and after swimming even when using ‘waterproof’ sunscreens. Make it part of your sun protection routine to check yourself and your family for unusual growths on your skin. If you notice a suspicious growth or a change in the appearance of a mole, do not- ‘wait and see’-what happens. Consult your doctor before you decide any growth is harmless.
There are several treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer, which depend on the type and location. Physicians take in to consideration the patients age and health when deciding on a treatment. No one likes to hear the word cancer but do not despair; skin cancer is preventable and curable. There is not any reason to let the news of non-melanoma skin cancer get you down. There is action you can take now to keep skin cancer away.