Have you ever wondered how to prevent skin cancer or how can we reduce the risk of skin cancer? If no, then fret not; this article will give you insights into skin cancer and its different types, causes, and risk factors.
Skin cancer is most commonly found on sun-exposed skin. However, this frequent type of cancer can also develop on parts of your skin that aren’t generally exposed to the sun.
Limiting or avoiding ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure can lower your risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be detected at an early stage if you check your skin for any abnormal changes. Early skin cancer detection increases your chances of a successful skin cancer treatment.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is caused by mistakes (mutations) in the DNA of skin cells. The mutations lead the cells to expand out of control, resulting in a tumor.
Skin cancer develops on the epidermis or top layer of your skin. The epidermis is a thin layer that protects your skin by shedding skin cells regularly.
UV (ultraviolet) radiation, which is found in sunshine and tanning bed lights, causes many DNA damages in skin cells. On the other hand, Sun exposure cannot explain skin malignancies that grow on skin that is not normally exposed to sunlight.
Risk Factors Of Skin Cancer
You may be thinking about how to reduce your risk of skin cancer? If yes, then you need to look at these tips to know risk factors associated with skin cancer:
- Fair Skin
Skin cancer can affect anyone and everyone, regardless of skin color. Having less pigment (melanin) in your skin, on the other hand, gives less protection from harmful UV rays. You’re considerably more likely to acquire skin cancer if you have blond or red hair, light-colored eyes, and freckle or sunburn easily than someone with darker skin.
- History Of Sunburns
You’re more likely to acquire skin cancer as an adult if you’ve had one or more blistering sunburns as a child or teenager. Adulthood sunburns are also a risk factor.
- Excessive Exposure To The Sun
Anyone who go out or spends a lot of time in the sun, especially if their skin isn’t protected by sunscreen or clothing, is at risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer is more likely to occur in people who have a lot of moles or atypical moles called dysplastic nevi.
- Precancerous Skin Lesions
Actinic keratoses are skin lesions that can raise your chance of acquiring skin cancer. Rough, scaly patches ranging in color from brown to dark pink characterize these precancerous skin growths.
- Family History
You may have a higher risk of skin cancer if one of your parents or siblings has had the condition.
- Weakened Immune System
Skin cancer can develop in people who have compromised immune systems. This includes HIV/AIDS patients and those on immunosuppressive medicines following an organ transplant.
- Radiation Exposure
Skin cancer, mainly basal cell carcinoma, may be increased in those who got radiation treatment for skin disorders such as eczema and acne.
Types Of Skin Cancer
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
It is a skin cancer that arises in the basal cells. It’s the most prevalent type of skin cancer and the one that grows the slowest.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
It is a skin cancer that arises in the squamous cells. It usually manifests itself on the skin as red, scaly lesions or sores. This type of skin cancer is normally not life-threatening, but it can become hazardous if left untreated.
It is a skin cancer that arises in the melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). This is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s more prone than basal and squamous cell skin cancers to spread. It is the leading cause of skin cancer mortality each year.
Treatment Of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions known as actinic keratoses have different treatment options depending on the size, nature, depth, and location of the lesions. Small skin cancers restricted to the skin’s surface may not require therapy beyond a skin biopsy to remove the entire tumor. Some of the best options for the treatment of skin cancer are-
Your doctor may use liquid nitrogen to freeze actinic keratoses and some tiny, early skin malignancies (cryosurgery). When frozen tissue thaws, it sloughs off.
- Excisional Surgery
It is a surgery that removes some sort of skin cancer that may benefit from this type of treatment. Your doctor excises the malignant tissue as well as a healthy skin margin around it.
- Curettage And Electrodessication
After removing the majority of a tumor, your doctor uses a circular blade to scrape away layers of cancer cells (curet). Any residual cancer cells are destroyed with an electric needle. Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze the base and borders of the treated region in a version of this process.
- Radiation Therapy
It is a type of treatment that involves using radiation therapy to kill cancer cells by delivering high-powered radiation beams, such as X-rays.
This treatment is known for using chemicals to kill cancer cells. Creams or lotions containing anti-cancer medicines can be administered directly to the skin for malignancies that are localized to the top layer of the skin.
How to Prevent Skin Cancer?
Here are some of the ways which can reduce the risk of skin cancer:
- Get Skin Cancer Screening
Even if you don’t have any skin problems, visiting a dermatologist for a regular skin cancer screening is a smart idea. They’ll be able to observe parts of your body that are difficult to monitor. A dermatologist can also check for the presence of skin cancer in any moles or other skin growths. If a mole has worrisome characteristics and appears to be malignant (cancerous), it should be removed as soon as possible so as to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body.
- Use Sunscreens
Sunscreens do not block all dangerous UV light, particularly the UV that can cause melanoma. They do play an important part in a comprehensive sun protection programme. Even on cloudy days, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Avoid Tanning Beds
UV rays are emitted by tanning bed lights, which can raise your risk of skin cancer. The risk of cutaneous melanoma increases if you use tanning beds before 30. Another study shows that your risk of melanoma will increase by using tanning even if you do not burn.
Skin cancer is a very common disease; however, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by taking precautions. These steps may include limiting going out too much in the sun, wearing sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds, and getting regular skin cancer screening. You can prevent skin cancer if you act smartly and consult your dermatologist if you face any skin-related issues.