The Basics About Skin Cancer

The Basics About Skin Cancer

The exact cause of skin cancer is not known, however, studies have shown that over exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun is a contributing factor. Approximately one million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. There are three basic types of skin cancer. They are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Of all the types of skin cancers to treat, basal cell carcinoma is the one that is most often seen. Besides being seen most often, basal cell carcinoma is also the easiest to diagnose and treat. A basal cell carcinoma can pop up just about anywhere on your skin, however, they are most commonly found on areas that receive a lot of sun.

Here are some signs to look for basal cell carcinoma:
* Scaly skin
* Open wounds that won’t heal
* Bumps that don’t go away
* White patches of skin that resemble scars

Pink spots that may be crusty or depressed in the middle

* Those that are at a greater risk for developing basal cell carcinoma are:
* Those that tend to get a lot of exposure to the sun
* Those that are light or fair skinned
* Male gender
* Those with a family history of basal cell carcinoma
* Those that have weak immune systems

Squamous cell carcinoma is also quite common. Every year about 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed. The biggest factor contributing to this is over exposure to the sun.

Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include:
* Hard, red bump
* Flat, crusty, patch of scaly skin
* Raised red areas
* Ulcerated skin

Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear slowly over time making it difficult to really spot. Those at risk are:

* Those who smoke
* Fair or light skinned people
* Males
* Those that have weak immune systems
* Those that tend to over expose themselves to the sun

The deadliest type of skin cancer is malignant melanoma. It affects the cells that are responsible for skin pigment. Ever year about 63,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma. It is most commonly found on areas exposed to the sun. Signs of melanoma include:

* An irregular shaped mole
* Suspicious moles that may be hard or bumpy
* Itching, oozing or bloody moles
* Pigmentation around a mole that seems to be spreading

The ones who have a greater risk of developing melanoma are:

* Fair skinned people
* Those who spend a lot of time in the sun
* Those that have a family history of melanoma
* Those that have been diagnosed with melanoma previously
* Those with weak immune systems

Skin cancer can be treated effectively is caught in its early stages. If you notice a spot on your skin that you are uncertain about, it is best to have it checked out early. An ounce of precaution now may save you a lot of pain and suffering later on.

The Basics About Skin Cancer

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