Skin cancer is very common. It is estimated that more skin cancer cases are diagnosed than all other cancers combined. Every decade, there is a noticeable increase in the number of cases around the world.
What Causes It?
Most types are caused by excessive exposure to UV rays. For many people, this exposure comes from their time in the sun. Other people experience excessive UV exposure because they use indoor tanning beds or spend a lot of time under sun lamps.
One good thing to note is that this is one of the forms of cancer you can protect yourself from. Simple steps like wearing long-sleeved clothing, using sunscreen, and staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day can minimize your chances of getting skin cancer. Another positive thing is that it is generally easy to detect and catch early. The earlier you catch it, the more effectively you can treat it.
What is Skin Cancer?
This is a cancer that starts with the cells in your skin. A person can have cancer start in other parts of their body and eventually spread to their skin. This is not skin cancer.
Skin cancer can be divided into three categories. There are basal cell, melanomas, and squamous cell cancers. The most common forms include squamous and basal cell cancers. They usually develop on the parts of your body that receive the most sun exposure, like on your head and on your neck. These forms of cancer do not often spread to other body parts and are rarely life-threatening. Still, it’s important that they be identified and treated promptly. The longer they are left on your body, the greater chance that they can grow and eventually invade other tissues and organs. This can lead to serious deformity and scarring.
Melanomas develop in the cells that give your skin a brown pigment. Melanomas can happen anywhere on the body. However, they are most likely to be seen on the chest and back. For women, the legs are the most common areas for this type of cancer. Although melanoma is not seen with the same frequency that squamous cell or basal cell cancers are, melanoma is extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening.
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