The formation of unwanted cells in our body is well known to us. Cancer is considered one of the most malignant diseases we have ever known, largely because of its difficult cure and treatment. But as scary as they may seem, there are many types of cancer that are treated and cured with some ease, especially when the disease is diagnosed in its early stage as is the case with skin cancer.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of the disease, not only in Brazilians, but worldwide, affecting about 25% of all cancer cases diagnosed on the planet. This is due to several factors, the main one being the lack of care that some people have with exposure to the sun , which in the long run, can end up affecting their health negatively.
Of course, there are several factors other than the sun that cause skin cancer, but it is important to have this type of information to generate reflection on our habits and customs.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer can be described as any change in a person ‘s skin cells , which can spread to other parts of the body. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body of human beings and any cell in that organ can originate a tumor, there are different types of skin cancer.
Features of Skin Cancer
This type of tumor is usually characterized by skin rashes , which can be benign or malignant, depending on their shape. Depending on the type of skin cancer, it may look redder, larger or smaller, and even resemble a wound that does not appear to heal. Tumors are visible because they are outside the body, and can often itch and bleed, depending on the case.
Causes of Skin Cancer
It is not for nothing that skin cancer is the most common type of appearing in humans and this becomes much clearer for us when we realize what are the main causes of this disease.
Undoubtedly, the main cause is exposure to the sun without adequate protection, either due to accumulated exposure throughout life or by isolated episodes where there was a very high level of exposure to the sun. But in addition to this factor, there are also others that can directly influence the development of a tumor of this type, they are:
- Smoke tobacco
- Human Papilloma Virus, HPV
- Genetic predisposition
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays
- Wounds that don’t heal
All of these factors can cause the dreaded skin cancer and, depending on how it forms, can appear in different types.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer cases are usually grouped into two major groups , melanoma and non-melanoma, which are distinguished according to their structure.
Melanoma is a type of malignant tumor that can also affect several other parts of our body, from the eyes to the genitals and mucous regions. It can reach so many parts, precisely because it is a tumor that has metastasis as its main characteristic , that is, it has the ability to spread and cause cancer in other regions of the body. For this reason, this is one of the most dangerous types of cancer known and with one of the highest number of lethalities.
Within this type of cancer, we can find two subgroups, that of basal cell carcinoma and that of squamous cell carcinoma. The basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer found in people.
This type of tumor develops slowly and hardly causes metastasis, however, if not treated correctly, it can deepen and reach other tissues, such as bones, for example. Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the epidermis and is more easily treated, however, if the treatment is not done correctly it can also cause metastasis.
How are Skin Cancer Treatments Done?
The treatment of skin cancer is not done in one way and can depend on several factors such as:
- The type of skin cancer
- If there is a risk of metastasis or if there is already metastasis
- The health status of the person
- The state of the person’s skin
All of these factors will help the dermatologist to define the best procedure. Usually, the doctor can solve the problem with surgery to remove the tumor and follow-up to make sure that the disease will not reoccur.
There are some cases where the person cannot have surgery, as occurs with many elderly people, for example, in addition to cases where surgery alone is not enough for the complete removal of the tumor. When this occurs, each case must be analyzed independently by the doctor, who will determine which is the best procedure to be performed.
There are several factors to be aware of when talking about skin cancer, especially those involving the sun. We can point out as main risk factors for this disease:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Age and sex, as this type of cancer is much more common in adulthood and in men.
- Family history
- Skin characteristics, as people with very light skin tend to be more sensitive to the sun and, consequently, are more at risk
It is important to pay attention to the factors that can trigger some type of skin cancer, although they are not determinant, the causes of this disease are often related to them.
How to Prevent Skin Cancer?
The main tip to prevent skin cancer is, without a doubt, protection against the sun’s rays , both in the long and short term. Since we know that this is the main cause of the disease, we need to be aware of the use of sunscreen, especially not in summer and in places where the body is more exposed, such as on beaches and pools.
But it is not only in these places that one must prevent the sun. Whenever the weather is very open and the skin can be exposed, it is important to be protected in some way, especially those who have a lighter skin, as they are more at risk of developing this type of tumor.
Cancer is a frightening disease and even though we know that many types of skin cancer have an easy treatment and with few risks, we tend to be concerned. The upside is that with the right preventions, the chances of developing skin cancer are greatly reduced. Even so, it is very important to see a doctor when you notice any change in the skin, because the disease you treat at the beginning has much more chances of cure.
See Also: Most Common Skin Diseases in Women
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.