Since skin cancer is the most common cancer among humans, it’s worth taking notice. An estimated one million new cases occur annually and each year the number is increasing. Current estimates indicate that half of Americans who live to the age of 65 will develop skin cancer at least once.
“Skin Cancer” generally refers to three different conditions:
- Basal cell carcinoma – Slow growing, usually painless, and initially affects the top layer of skin
- Squamous cell carcinoma – Grows faster than Basil cell carcinoma, early forms known as Bowen’s disease
- Melanoma – The most dangerous form of skin cancer, as it’s not only fast growing and can be painful, but also is the leading cause of death of all skin cancer.
The most common skin cancers are Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma. However Melanoma is typically of great concern due to the way it metastasizes (spreads rapidly throughout the body).
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
There are a number of genetic and environmental factors which can increase your risk for developing skin cancer, which include:
- light colored eyes (green/blue)
- fair skin tone
- burn easily
- naturally red or blonde hair
- spend a lot of time outdoors
- personal or family history of skin cancer or melanoma
To prevent increasing your risk for skin cancer and sunburns, be sure to use sunscreen regularly to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays which also contributes to signs of aging.
Skin Cancer Warning Signs
There are a number of warning signs which # may indicate skin cancer may be present or the potential for skin cancer to develop, which include:
- Sores that don’t heal
- New Growths or moles
- Existing Growths or moles that grow / change
Take Steps to Avoid Skin Cancer
There are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer in your day to day activities.
- Always use sunscreen when spending time outdoors
- Avoid sunlight exposure during mid-day sun (11am – 2pm)