Skin cancer is an extremely common skin condition. About 3 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. The most common type is called Basal Cell Carcinoma, followed by Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma, each of which possesses varying subtypes, degrees of severity, and survival rates.
All skin cancers are either caused or accelerated by exposure to ultraviolet light. Therefore, the best way to minimize the likelihood of contracting skin cancer is to avoid UV light in the form of sunlight and indoor tanning equipment. Don’t listen to the signs and brochures you find at tanning salons talking about needing Vitamin D! Of course, you do need Vitamin D, but what you don’t need is to subject yourself to intense ultraviolet light for purely cosmetic reasons.
Talk to your doctor about Vitamin D deficiency if you are concerned about it.
In addition to avoiding indoor tanning equipment, it’s important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses complete your protective measures.
Skin cancer usually appears as a growth on the skin or nearby or on an existing mole or birthmark. The growth or marking usually appears as misshapen, asymmetrical, miscolored, transparent, painful, itchy, bleeding or constantly re-wounded, crusting, or flaking. It may also be accompanied by nearby skin redness, pain, or visible blood vessels.
Skin cancer remains one of the most successfully treated cancers, partly because its primary symptoms are visible to the naked eye. This means that regular self-examinations are a crucial part of preventing skin cancer and/or treating it early. Early treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell carcinoma generally preclude a secondary appearance of cancerous material.
This means that if you deal with your skin cancer early and a board-certified dermatologist removes it in its early stages, it most likely won’t come back again.
So don’t put off dealing with that odd growth on your neck, back, shoulders, thighs, or even on your lips, eyelids, or anywhere else on the body.
Regular self-examinations, plus annual checkups from a board-certified dermatologist, are your strongest weapons against skin cancer. Couple that with the use of sunscreen and protective clothing, and skin cancer becomes the one cancer that doesn’t have to be “a big deal.”