Skin cancer is the most common cancer of the human body and almost 1 million people per year get diagnosed of skin cancer in USA. This happens when cells start multiplying in an abnormal way forming a mass called tumor. Tumors are cancerous only if they are malignant, causing neighboring cells to influence from their abnormality due to their uncontrolled growth. The tumor may travel to other parts of the body via blood stream or lymph.
Skin cancers are of three major types: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Majority of skin cancers are BCC’s and SCC’s which do not usually spread to other parts of the body and maybe disfiguring locally if not treated early. Melanoma, while, is a very dangerous and aggressive kind of cancer which spreads to other body parts and if not treated early, it can prove fatal.
Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the deep basal cell layer of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It is six to eight times more common than malignant melanoma.
It is often located in the face and on the neck. Basal cell carcinoma is not one of the most dangerous cancers, but it must still be treated to avoid it spreading.
The first warning signs may be small lumps, scar-like changes, or eczema-like changes on the skin. The first sign can also be a small sore with raised borders. This cancer grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. [showmyads]
Squamous cell carcinoma the first signs can be a patch of scaly eczema. Later, a sore that can turn into a tumor may appear.
Squamous cell carcinoma grows faster than basal cell carcinoma especially when located near orifices – the eyes, ears, mouth, anus or the vagina. It may spread via the lymph vessels, but that is rare.
Melanoma: When doing a self examination, you need to look at all areas of the body. It helps to have a mirror to view all parts of the body. Look for any changes to color, shape, and size to any freckle, mole, blemish or reddened areas.
If bleeding or oozing comes from a mole or spot, it is imperative that it be examined by a physician. This is often indicative of advanced melanoma and needs to be evaluated.
Sometimes, it is difficult to discern between an ordinary mole and a melanoma. If you have any doubt, it is important to have it checked out by a physician. Skin should be examined for any suspicious areas by a physician on a yearly basis, if skin cancer has never been diagnosed.
There are a number of potential skin cancer causes and one of the main skin cancer causes is over exposure to sunlight. When the skin is exposed to sunlight the UV radiation might cause skin cancer by either directly damaging the DNA or by indirectly doing so. Thus people living in areas that receive high UV radiation are more prone to developing skin cancer. Exposure to UV radiation in tanning booths also could cause skin cancer. It is most important that adequate protection must be taken right from childhood. Another one of the most common skin cancer causes is smoking and consuming tobacco products, which doubles the risk of skin cancer. Other skin cancer causes are vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as arsenic poisoning.