Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Skin cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the skin. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with over 3 million people diagnosed with the condition each year. Skin cancer can occur on any part of the body, but is most common on areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
Skin cancer can look quite different from one person to another due to skin tone, size and type of skin cancer and location on the body.
What Causes Cancers of the Skin?
The two main causes of skin cancer are the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and using UV tanning beds. The good news is that if skin cancer is caught early, your dermatologist can treat it with little or no scarring and high odds of eliminating it entirely. Often, the doctor may even detect the growth at a precancerous stage, before it has become a full-blown skin cancer or penetrated below the surface of the skin.
Signs of skin cancer you could be missing
Changes in the appearance of a mole.
Skin changes after a mole has been removed.
Itchiness & oozing.
A sore or spot that won't go away.
Changes in your fingernails or toenails.
Can skin cancer be cured?
Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if they're treated before they have a chance to spread. The earlier skin cancer is found and removed, the better your chance for a full recovery. It's important to continue following up with your dermatologist to make sure cancer doesn't come back.
How can we prevent skin cancer?
1. Avoid direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours (10 am to 4 pm).
2. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, and a broad-brimmed hat when outdoors.
3. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every 2 hours.
4. Avoid tanning beds.
5. Perform self-exams to check for any suspicious moles or lesions.
6. See your doctor for regular skin checks.
7. Avoid smoking or secondhand smoke.
8. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
9. Limit alcohol consumption.
10. Stay in the shade when possible.