Skin Cancer- Everything you need to know.
Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations.
Causes of Skin Cancer?
- UV radiation in sunlight
- some food-related factors, such as nitrites and polyaromatic hydrocarbons generated by barbecuing food
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori, which causes gastritis)
- HBV, HCV (hepatitis viruses that cause hepatitis)
- HPV (human papillomavirus, papillomavirus, which causes changes eg. Cervical cells)
- EBV (Epstein-Barr virus, the herpes virus that causes inflammation of the throat lymphoid)
- Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type
- Environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter
- occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials, and asbestos
- lifestyle-related factor
There are three major types of skin cancer which are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinomas are most common in the head and neck. BCCs typically show up as an open sore or skin-colored, red, or sometimes dark-colored bump with a pearly or translucent border that appears rolled. BCCs can also appear as a red patch (that may itch or hurt), a shiny bump, or a waxy, scar-like area.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinomas, the second most common form of skin cancer, often look like scaly red or skin-colored patches, open sores, warts, or elevated growths with a central depression and may crust or bleed.
Melanoma Skin Cancer
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs when pigment-producing cells called melanocytes mutate and begin to divide uncontrollably. Most pigment cells develop in the skin. Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin, but certain areas are more at risk than others.
Read also: Benefit of banana peels on the skin.
Prevention of skin cancer.
- Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. For many people in North America, the sun’s rays are strongest between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day.
- Wear sunscreen year-round. Sunscreens don’t filter out all harmful UV radiation, especially the radiation that can lead to melanoma. But they play a major role in an overall sun protection program.
- Wear protective clothing. Sunscreens don’t provide complete protection from UV rays. So cover your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor does.
- Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications. Some common prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antibiotics, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
- Check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor. Examine your skin often for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks.
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