According to the World Health Organization statistics, one in every three cancers diagnosed in the world is skin cancer, and one in five Americans has some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. This information, along with statistics released by other health organizations, places skin cancer at the top of the list of other cancers worldwide and in the United States. On the other hand, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society, every 54 minutes an American dies because of a malignant form of skin cancer called melanoma. So everyone needs to know more about this cancer.
What is really skin cancer?
This cancer is caused by the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of skin cells. Ultraviolet light in the sun and tanning lamps cause gene changes in the nuclei of skin cells. If the body’s immune system fails to repair the damage, the skin cells begin to grow rapidly, initially appearing to be spotted with rapid growth or with bleeding, tumors, or wounds that do not heal. And, if left untreated, can spread to other areas (metastases).
Types of skin cancer
Pre-cancerous lesions called Actinic Keratosis
These are precancerous lesions, spots or patches on the skin where the skin becomes agitated, rough and changes color. These lesions are usually caused by severe skin damage caused by sunlight or tanning. If you have some of these lesions, you should go to a dermatologist, as these lesions are very likely to become cancerous. People with light skin color are more likely to develop these lesions. Actinic keratosis usually appears after the age of forty, in the head, neck, forehead and hands.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
This is the most common type of skin cancer, but it is generally more benign than melanoma and SCC. Various color flesh lesions, shellfish bumps, pink spots, scars that do not heal or bleed can all be symptoms of BCC. Although BCC is more common in the head, neck, face and hands, it can affect the whole body, including the chest, abdomen and legs. Late treatment of BCC can lead to its spread and metastasis to other parts of the body, including the nervous system and bones.
SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
This cancer is the second most common skin cancer and is more invasive than BCC. SCC can occur in the form of hard red mass, scarring lesions, and scars that do not heal or bleed. SCC lesions are more prone to injury and bleeding than BCC. These wounds usually penetrate the deep tissue and cause deformity of the affected area. Early detection of SCC is very important, as it can rapidly metastasize.
This cancer is the deadliest type of skin cancer. Melanoma most commonly begins with changes to an old or ordinary mole or suddenly appears as a dark or dark brown area on the skin. Early detection is very important. Important points in early diagnosis are: Usually there is no symmetry in the skin lesion and one half lesion is different from the other.
The margin of the lesion is not very clear and is not well separated from the surrounding healthy skin. Several different colors may be seen in the lesion. More brown and black, and less of red, white and blue colors can bee seen there. The diameter of the lesion is usually more than six millimeters. The last important symptom is the difference between a blemish or a brown spot with other blemishes, which usually begin to deform and change color as well as itching and bleeding. Seeing these symptoms, you should suspect melanoma and see a dermatologist.
Skin cancer facts
The number of new skin cancers each year is higher than the total for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. More than four million BCC cases, more than 1 million SCC cases, and more than 87,000 invasive melanoma cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. More than 58 million Americans have precancerous or actinic keratosis lesions. Over 90% of non-melanoma cancers (usually BCC and SCC) are associated with prolonged uncontrolled exposure to sunlight.
Over 8 billion dollars a year is spent on the treatment of skin cancers in the United States. Although melanoma accounts for less than one percent of all skin cancers, about 10,000 people died in 2017 in the United States because of this disease. Those who use tanning beds more than ten times in their lifetimes are 34 percent more likely to develop melanoma. People who use skin tanning beds before the age of 35 have a 75 percent increased risk of developing melanoma.