Skin cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the skin's cells. It's primarily caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells, often due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. There are three main types of skin cancer:
1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. It typically appears as a pearly bump or a pinkish patch of skin. BCC rarely spreads to other parts of the body but can invade nearby tissues.
2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC is the second most common type. It usually presents as a red, scaly patch or a sore that doesn't heal. While SCC is less likely than melanoma to spread to other organs, it can be aggressive if left untreated.
3. Melanoma: Melanoma is the least common but the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It often appears as a dark, irregularly shaped mole or a changing spot on the skin. Melanoma can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body, making early detection crucial.
Frequently Asked Questions on Skin Cancer:
What causes skin cancer?
The primary cause of skin cancer is UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds. Genetics, a family history of skin cancer, and a weakened immune system can also increase the risk.
How can I protect myself from skin cancer?
A: Protecting yourself from skin cancer involves wearing sunscreen with SPF, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing (e.g., hats, sunglasses), and avoiding indoor tanning. Regular skin self-exams and professional skin checks are essential for early detection.
Are all moles a sign of skin cancer?
A: No, most moles are benign (non-cancerous) and harmless. However, any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of moles should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Can skin cancer be hereditary?
A: While a family history of skin cancer can increase the risk, it is often linked to shared environmental factors, such as sun exposure. Genetic factors may also play a role in some cases.
Is skin cancer treatable?
Yes, skin cancer is often treatable, especially when detected in its early stages. Treatment options may include surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy, depending on the type and stage of cancer.