Exposure to the Sun’s UV rays, heredity, and environment all play a role in determining one’s risks for skin cancer. It is important to exercise caution when it comes to exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, such as wearing sun-screen and protective clothing. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and is more prevalent among individuals with fair skin. Treated in time, the prognosis is excellent for the treatment of skin cancers.
Basal Cell & Squamous Cell
The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. Both basal cells and squamous cells are types of cells that make up the epidermis (outer layer) of the skin. Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, but is most common in places that have been exposed to the most sunlight, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms.
Skin cancer can appear many different ways. Most commonly, skin cancer is a change on the skin, such as a growth or a sore that won't heal. Sometimes there may be a small lump. This lump can be smooth, shiny and waxy looking, or it can be red or reddish brown. Skin cancer may also appear as a flat red spot that is rough or scaly. Not all changes in your skin are cancer, but you should take precaution and see your doctor if you notice changes in your skin.
A more serious type of skin cancer is melanoma, where malignant cells form in the melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that color the skin. Melanocytes contain melanin and are found in the epidermal (top) layer of the skin. Melanoma is best treated when found early. Melanomas can spread quickly. You should see your doctor if you have any of the following warning signs of melanoma: change in the size, shape, or color of a mole; oozing or bleeding from a mole; or a mole that feels itchy, hard, lumpy, swollen, or tender to the touch. Melanomas also may appear on the body as a new mole. Men most often get melanoma on the trunk (the area of the body between the shoulders and hips) or on the head or neck; women most often get melanoma on the arms and legs.