7 Things You Didn’t Know About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer has become one of the greatest threats of the modern world. In fact, each year there are more diagnoses of this type of cancer than the combined diagnoses of breast, prostrate, lung and colon cancer combined.
Skin cancer mainly affects people who are above the age of 50 years old. However, it’s possible for younger individuals to develop skin cancer, especially if they’re exposed to the sun a lot without wearing any sunscreen.
The most common form of this cancer is the non-melanoma skin cancer, which was given this name because it has no trace of malignant melanoma produced from melanocytes.
Two factors greatly influence its appearance: the radiation emitted by the sun through its UV rays and DNA mutations in the epithelial cells.
However, despite being one of the most common forms of cancer, mortality rates for skin cancer have stabilized. Furthermore, there are increasing opportunities for a timely diagnosis of this type of cancer.
Because of this, it’s important to know more about the disease and to learn to identify some of its symptoms.
In this article, we want to share seven facts about this type of cancer and how it develops.
1. Sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer
Many people consider continuous sun exposure to be harmless, because they believe the worst thing that can happen to them is sunburn, which heals after a couple of days.
However, what most people ignore is that the impact of radiation on the skin alters their cells and greatly increases the risk of cancer in the long run.
2. Using sunscreen is not enough
Although applying sunscreen to your skin minimizes the negative effects of the sun, habitually using it doesn’t guarantee you won’t develop this type of cancer.
In fact, the sun is only one of the factors associated with developing skin cancer. In addition to UV rays, toxins, cigarettes and a poor diet could also contribute to the development of skin cancer.
3. Any mole can become malignant
Most cases of skin cancer develop from a spot that begins to grow abnormally.
However, in other circumstances it may arise from a preexisting mole that was invaded by malignant cells.
This variety of moles are known as melanomas, which are not so frequent among the types of this disease. However, unfortunately, they are the most aggressive type.
4. Larger moles increase risk of skin cancer
The risk of a malignant mole increases if the mole in question is large. These types of moles are called “congenital melanocytic nevus.”
This type of mole is present at birth and it’s common for them to grow over the years.
5. Tanning booths can be dangerous
Continuously using tanning lamps or booths is a risk factor that we should all not ignore.
Although it seems like a good alternative to sun exposure, the truth is these types of tanning machines also emit some degree of ultraviolet radiation, which can be dangerous.
6. An infection can cause skin cancer
Other possible causes of this disease are chronic injuries and swelling that occur from severe burns and infections.
If the skin that protects the inner part of the body has a serious condition, the risk of developing malignant cells increases significantly.
7. The “ABCDE” rule to identify skin cancer
The sudden appearance of spots on the skin and abnormalities in the moles are the most obvious sign to give away that you may have this type of cancer.
However, there’s a method that can help you discern whether the moles or spots that appear on your skin are a cause for cancer: the “ABCDE” rule:
- A – Asymmetry: One part of the mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- B – Border: The edges of the mole are uneven and look abnormal.
- C – Color: The color of the mole includes brown and black shades. However, moles may sometimes turn white, blue or a reddish color.
- D – Diameter: The mole is a little over ¼ inch wide (6 milimeters).
- E – of Evolving: Over time you notice changes in the shape, size and color of the mole.
Remember that one of the most effective ways to prevent the development of skin cancer is through an annual visit to your dermatologist.
Pay attention to the signs that you consider to be abnormal and ask for the appropriate tests to be more certain.