Skin cancer is a disease in which rapidly multiplying abnormal cells (cancer cells) are found in the outer layers of the skin.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but it is more common in people who
- Spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned
- Have light-colored skin, hair and eyes
- Have a family member with skin cancer
- Are over age 50
You should have your doctor check any suspicious skin marks and any changes in your skin looks. Treatment is more likely to work when cancer is found early. If not treated, some types of skin cancer cells can spread to other tissues and organs.
People who are exposed to over excessive UVrays tend to have a higher chance to get skin cancer.
Skin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor:
- Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
- Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or a change in the way a bump looks
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
- A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
The specialist will closely examine the abnormal area of skin. They may put some oil on your skin and use a dermato scope (a bit like a magnifying glass) to help with the initial diagnosis. Due to the appearance of some BCC’s it can be very clear to a specialist what it is, and they can then plan treatment.There are not very many options to get tested to see if you do have skin cancer.
- The best way to lower the risk of skin cancer is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun and other sources of UV radiation. Avoid being outdoors in sunlight for long periods, especially in the middle of the day when UV radiation is most intense.
- Protect your skin with clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt and a hat with a broad brim.
- Use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF factor of at least 15. Put it on about 20 to 30 minutes before you go outside so your skin can absorb it and reapply every two hours.
- Wear sunglasses/goggles (Wrap-around sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV absorption give the best protection).
- Avoid other sources of UV light such as tanning beds and sun lamps.