Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, with doctors diagnosing it in about one million Americans each year. It usually presents itself as a red scaly area that is tender, a pimple that doesn’t heal, or as a spot that just looks different on your body.
This cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. Malignant tumors form when some skin cells grow abnormally.
This particular cancer is responsible for less than 1% of all cancer deaths. Lifetime exposure to the sun’s UV radiation is why it usually appears after you reach the age of 50.
However, this cancer is on the rise among young people between 18 and 39. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that the rates of skin cancer have grown among young women and men in the last 40 years, despite an increase in knowledge.
With the exception of breast cancer, women age 40 and under are more likely to develop the more serious form, melanoma, than they do most other invasive cancers. For men, it is more common than prostrate, lung, or colon cancers.
Melanoma, although more rare, it is very aggressive and can spread to other organs of the body very quickly. It affects about 50,000 people in the United States yearly.
Signs of this rare cancer appear as dark brown or black patches and have irregular edges. It can be multi colored with shades of blue, white, or red. Melanoma appears in less than 5% of all skin cancers, but is the cause of most deaths. Early detection is very important.
Treatments typically include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and/or chemotherapy. Early detection and proper treatment, before it penetrates the skin, raises the survival rate to 99%.
Skin cancer can be prevented by avoiding risk factors, particularly exposure to ultraviolet radiation of the sun. This cancer is serious and is the most-diagnosed cancer in the U.S. You need to pay attention to all of your skin, even the skin you can’t see.
Prevention practices included consistently using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, including shirts and hats; and avoiding excessive sun exposure during midday hours. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval can help you choose a highly effective brand. Get the most out of your sunscreen by choosing one with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher.
Skin cancer is a very real risk, and most people think it can’t happen to them. It can, and does happen very often. You must take steps to help prevent it happening to you.