Skin Cancer Awareness

As you are probably aware, Skin Cancer is one the most common types of cancer. With the summer months quickly approaching, it is important that we take a deeper look into this type of illness.

Let’s start by giving some facts about skin cancer:

More than 90 percent of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure. The UV rays of the sun are responsible for non-melanoma skin cancers. Unprotected exposure to these rays can be from being outdoors, tanning booths, and even through your car or home window.

Each hour, one person dies from skin cancer. About 2,800 people will die of non-melanoma skin cancer and about 8,000 will die of melanoma in the U.S. this year. The sad thing is that many of these deaths could have been prevented by simply protecting ones self from the sun.

Likewise, skin cancer accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers combined. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among men and women.

More than one million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.5 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.

One in three Caucasians will be diagnosed with skin cancer sometime in their life, and one in five Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime with skin cancer. The risk factor is higher for Caucasians, due to the limited protection of the skin pigmentation.

Importantly, one bad burn in childhood doubles the risk factor for melanoma later in life.
Protecting children against UV exposure is essential for skin health into adulthood. A blistering sunburn during childhood increases the risk of melanoma as an adult.

Men are diagnosed with skin cancer more often than women. According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely to develop skin cancer over women. In fact, it is more common than prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer in men over 50. This makes skin cancer the most common cancer in men over 50.

Now that we have covered some of the facts, let’s discuss the different types of skin cancer.

There are considered to be two categories of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma.

Melanoma is the most serious type of the disease, accounting for over 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. Non-melanoma, although serious, is less life threatening and easier to treat.

Therefore, it is important that you know and understand the symptoms of skin cancer because early detection is the key to recovery. Here is a small list of possible symptoms:

• A small lump (spot or mole) that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and smooth in texture.
• A red lump (spot or mole) that is firm.
• A sore or spot that bleeds or become crusty. Also look for sores that don’t heal.
• Rough and scaly patches on the skin.
• Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown.
• Any new growth that is suspicious.

Always, if you feel that you have a spot, mole, or lump that you think is suspicious of skin cancer, please contact your physician immediately. If detected early, it is highly treatable.

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