Seeing as we’re slowly but surely heading into the summer, it’s only natural that we start talking about a condition that affects as many as one in five American citizens and that can be very easily prevented with just a couple of precautions. I’m talking, of course, about skin cancer.
The affliction is treated in as many as 3.3 million Americans every year, and it is one of the most common forms of skin cancer. In fact, Hugh Jackman, Australia native, was treated for the illness five separate times in just two years. Prevention is extremely easy – all you have to do is be careful how much direct exposure to UV light you get.
Types of skin cancer
There are three different types of skin cancer, one more dangerous than the previous one. They usually manifest in areas overexposed to the sun, although that’s not always the case. Some of these areas are the face, the neck, the legs, the arms, the scalp, the palms, the groin, and even beneath the toes or fingernails.
The first type is the most common – basal cell carcinoma. It develops in areas exposed to the sun and its symptoms include a lesion which is usually a flesh-colored or brown lesion or a waxy or pearly bump. The second type is squamous cell carcinoma and it usually also appears in areas exposed to the sun. It usually appears as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a crusted or scaly surface.
Last but not least, melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It can be caused by UV radiation from the sun or from tanning beds, and it appears when damaged DNA to the skin cells triggers mutations, leading to malignant tumors. It can appear anywhere on the body, and it can manifest as a mole that changes shapes and sizes, a brownish spot with dark speckles, or a lesion with an irregular border, size, and color.
Testing and Treatments
With more than 10,000 people dying from melanoma in the United States every year, it’s understandable that experts want to do their best to prevent as many people from catching the disease as they can. So without any further ado, here are a few more facts about skin cancer.
Testing is usually performed by examination of the skin and by removing a sample of the suspected portion for further study. It can affect anyone, so you have to take constant measures in order to avoid contracting the condition. The prevention methods pretty much revolve around not using tanning beds, wearing sunscreen, and wearing protective clothing when the context mandates it.
As for the treatment, there are quite a few options. From freezing the piece of skin with liquid nitrogen to excisional surgery to remove it directly, removing the skin layer by layer, laser therapy, and even the classic and far more devastating radiation and chemotherapy, there are plenty of ways to get rid of the condition – as long as it is detected on time.
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