All you need to know about skin cancer
All you need to know about skin cancer
Kashika Manhas
All you need to know about skin cancer
 

All you need to know about skin cancer

Skin cancer refers to the abnormal growth of skin cells. It is much likely to affect the areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, but sometimes it can form in places that don’t get a lot of sun exposure. According to the World Health Organization, currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 1,32,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year.

The most common types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Merkel Cell Cancer, and Melanoma. They develop in the top layer of our skin. It is often referred to as a skin mutation or abnormal growth of skin cells, due to exposure to harmful UV radiation.

Types:

Basal Cell Carcinoma:

      Symptoms:

  • A pearly or waxy bump
  • A flat, flesh-coloured, or brown scar-like lesion
  • A bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns

Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
      Symptoms:

  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface

Merkel Cell Carcinoma:
       Symptoms:

  • Firm, shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles
  • Merkel cell carcinoma is most often found on the head, neck, and trunk

Melanoma
     Symptoms:

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles
  • A mole that changes in colour, size, or feel or that bleeds
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina, or anus

Detection

  • Check your body for moles regularly
  • Use mirrors for spots that are hard to see otherwise, ask your partner or parents, or a friend to check for such patches. Go find your mole buddy today!
  • Consult a general practitioner or dermatologist, they might suggest a blood test

Causes

  • Mutation in DNA: Skin Cancer occurs when errors or mutations occur in the DNA of our skin cells. The mutations cause the cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancer cells
  • People with less pigment (melanin) are more prone to skin cancer as melanin protects the skin from harmful radiations of UV light
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight and tanning beds can often expose our sensitive skin to harmful radiations of UV light. Always use sunscreens or UV protection creams/gels to prevent your skin from getting damaged
  • Exposure to toxic substances may cause your skin to get more sensitive to sunlight

Treatment
Treatment may include prescription creams or surgery to remove cancer. In some cases, radiation therapy may be required (consult your GP for this)

Prevention

  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day
  • Wear sunscreen year-round
  • Wear protective clothing like a hat, arm sleeves, etc. on a sunny day
  • Avoid tanning beds at all costs
  • Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications
  • Check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor

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