Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer holds the number one most common form of cancer. Annually, there are more than one million new cases being recorded, with one death every hour. This annual rate continues to grow increasingly with each year, inviting more public concern. It has become a public concern that many advertisements are geared toward prevention, and campaigns are being launch to promote awareness among every individual.

This Cancer affects the largest organ in the body, the skin. The human skin is composed of two major layers, the epidermis and the dermis. It occurs when there is abnormal growth of cancerous cells, especially in the outermost layer, the epidermis. The epidermis has three layers – squamous cells which comprise the upper and the middle layer, and the bottom layers, which consists of melanocytes and basal cells. it can affect each of these layers, defining the different types of this cancer.

There are three skin cancer types are based on the type of skin cell from where they arise:

a. Basal cell carcinoma, also called basal cell carcinoma epithelioma, is the most common type. In the United States, more than 90% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a malignant skin tumor that grows very slowly and spread is rare, making it the least serious kind. It also is one of the forms with the best response on skin cancer treatment. Regular exposure to the sun or ultraviolet rays is one of the most common types causes of basal cell carcinoma.

b. Squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant tumor of the squamous epithelium, and which is more serious than basal cell carcinoma because it spreads to other body organs such as the mouth, esophagus, lungs, urinary bladder, prostate, vagina and cervix.

These first 2 types of Skin Cancer are categorized as non-melanoma type of skin cancers. The third type is called melanoma.


c. Melanoma is the third type and is the most dangerous form. Melanoma is malignant tumor of the melanocytes, the cells that give color to the skin. Melanoma can develop from a mole or around it. This type of cancer is frequently found the back, neck, legs, soles of feet, fingernails, head and other areas not exposed to the sun.

Everyone is at risk, whatever the ethnicity or complexion tone. One of the major causes is unprotected overexposure to natural sunlight and ultraviolet rays from the sun and other artificial sources (tanning beds). However, some certain characteristics put people more at risk at developing Cancer. These include people with fair skin tones, with freckles, people who spend a lot of time outdoors and who burn easily, people with naturally blonde or red hair, and most, a family history.

A knowledge of skin cancer signs aids in early detection and prompt treatment. Some of the signs include:

a.    A firm, red lump or mole

b.    A small, shiny, waxy spot or mole that is pale in color and smooth in texture

c.    A sore that doesn’t heal or that bleeds and is crusty

d.    Rough and scaly patches on the skin, can be red or brown

e.    Any new growth on the skin that is suspicious

Skin Cancer stages depend on the type cancer, with a range from Stage 0- Stage 4. According to the National Institutes of health, staging is based on three factors – the size of the growth, how deep it has grown beneath the top layer of the skin, and the degree to which it has spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body.