The medical term for skin cancer is skin neoplasms. Skin cancer manifests in skin growths which have many different causes and the degree of their malignancy varies. There are many skin cancer types but there are three types which occur more than others. These skin cancer types are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma. In almost all cases of skin cancer, the tumor can be seen because it develops in the outermost layer of the skin. This is good because of that the cancer can be diagnosed in its early stages, which increases the chances of full recovery. It is also important to know that far less people die due to skin cancer than due to some other cancer types like lung cancer or stomach cancer. On the other hand, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer type.
Three main types of skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the first of the three most commonly diagnosed types of skin cancer. This skin cancer type mainly occurs in the face but in other areas of the skin which are exposed to the sun. It is not common for basal skin cancer to cause death. The good thing is that this cancer type is easily treated with radiation or surgery treatments.
Squamous cell carcinoma is not common as basal cell carcinoma but it is pretty common. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, this skin cancer type is known to metastasize more often. Even though this is the case, the rate of metastasis is still low.
The third most common type of skin cancer is melanoma. Out of these three types of skin cancer melanoma is the least frequent. Melanoma is known to metastasize and it is not uncommon for it to cause death. One of the main reasons why that is so, is because melanoma is likely to spread. If there is a suspicion of basal cell carcinoma, you should look for a pearly or waxy bump and a flat scar-like lesion which is either flesh or brown-colored.
At the earliest stage squamous cell carcinoma will look like a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly or crusted surface.
When first signs of melanoma skin cancer type are considered, it is important to know that the signs are not seen in the same places in men and women. When men are considered, neck, trunk and head are the first places which are affected, while in case of women lower legs.
Reducing the risk of developing skin cancer
There are many ways in which the risks of developing skin cancer can be reduced. Most of them include being careful when exposed to the sun, but there are other methods as well.
Indoor tanning needs to be limited if it cannot be avoided. Exposure to the mid day sun should be avoided but if that is not possible, it is essential that a person increases the use of sunscreen.
Those who smoke need to stop because smoking increases the risk of cancer.
Children are more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and that is why the parents need to protect them from overexposure to it.
When going outdoors, a person should wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and hats.
Sunscreen plays a very important role in protection against skin cancer and it needs to be applied every time a person goes outside. Reapplying of sunscreen is important as well.
According to the experts, skin cancer is most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. In the year 2008 there were more than 11,000 cases of melanoma in the United Kingdom. Out of this number, more than 2,000 people died because of it.
The data in the United States shows that there were 4.2% more cases of non-melanoma cancer every year during a period between 1992 and 2006.
Nowadays, there are more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer being diagnosed in the United Sates. According to this fact, every fifth American will develop skin cancer at some time in his or her life.
Whether a person will die of cancer or not depends on the stage of the cancer at which it was diagnosed and when the treatment started. The good thing about melanoma cancer is that the cure rate is quite high when the cancer is discovered in its early stages. However, there is little chance of survival if the melanoma has spread to other parts of the body.
In Europe, children aged between 0 and 14 years and teenagers aged between 15 and 19 are the ones who are most commonly diagnosed with skin cancer. In addition to this, in the UK the incidence of melanoma among teenagers increased four times in a period between 1978 and 1997.