An Overview of Skin Cancer

An Overview of Skin Cancer

Cancer is a scary subject and comes in many forms. Skin cancer is one of the more prevalent versions and, unfortunately, one most people do not take seriously enough.

Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office and being told you have cancer. Although cancer treatment has come a long way, it would still be a devastating moment. Are you going to die? Is it curable? Why you? These are the types of questions that will undoubtedly come to mind immediately. With many forms of cancer, there is a certain luck of the draw element as to why you get them. Skin cancer, however, is one you can take steps to avoid.

What is skin cancer? It is a malignant growth on the skin, typically forming on the epidermis or outer layer of the skin. It is often associated with repeated sun burns or extensive exposure to the sun over time. It is also becoming more common due to increased ultraviolet radiation penetration in the atmosphere.

Skin cancer typically can be categorized in three ways. Malignant melanoma is the worst and is fatal if not diagnosed and treated early. It is, however, the least prevalent of the categories. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common, has a hereditary element and is rarely fatal. It tends to be isolated and is often treated with surgery or topical chemotherapy. Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of cancer that occurs on both the skin and internal organs. It can be caused by many things including exposure to the sun and can metastasize or spread through the body.

The nature of skin cancer is such that it often can be avoided if precautionary steps are taken. If you enjoy laying on the beach or working outside, using proper sun block is simple and effective. The key is to use it liberally and frequently. While this seems like common sense, the sheer number of skin cancer cases reported each year indicate that people are not using it. Laziness is most likely the cause. If you fall in this category, do your really want to risk skin cancer, particularly malignant melanoma that can kill you?

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