Photo Abcde Rule For Skin Cancer intended for Skin Cancer Freckle by
Causes of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer actually starts in the top layer of your skin called the epidermis. This skin is super thin and provides a protective layer of skin cells that your body is always shedding. It contains three types of cells: squamos cells, basal cells,and melanocytes. Squamos cells are just below the outer surface and act as the inner lining of the skin. Basal cells are directly underneath the squamos cells and produce new skin cells. Melanocytes are the cells which produce melanin in the skin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. These cells are found in the lower part of your epidermis. These melanocytes protect the deeper layers of your skin by producing more melanin. More melanin produces tanned skin. If you have healthy skin, your healthy new skin cells will push the older cells to the skin surface where they eventually shed. When this process malfunctions, skin cancer can occur. This process is actually controlled by DNA, and when it malfunctions, new cells can begin to grow out of control, forming a mass of cancerous cells.
A lot of the damage to the DNA in skin cells is a result of ultraviolet radiation which is found in sunlight and commercial tanning lamps in tanning beds. There are three different types of UV light: Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB), and Ultraviolet C (UVC). Only the UVA and UVB rays actually make it to the earth and our bodies. UVC is absorbed by atmospheric ozone. UVB contributes to sunburn and many basal cell and squamos cell cancers. UVA also contributes to skin cancer by penetrating the skin deeper than the UVB does. This results in a weakening of the skin’s immune system and will increase your chances of developing cancer, particularly malanoma. Tanning beds have very high doses of UVA, which makes them dangerous for you.
There are other factors that may additionally contribute to skin cancer. Heredity can play a role, as can exposure to radiation treatments or to toxic chemicals.
There are also some risk factors to be aware of that may increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
- Fair Skin: When you have less pigment or melanin in your skin, then you have less natural protection from the damaging UV radiation. You are much more likely to develop skin cancer if you freckle or sunburn easily or if you have blond or red hair. Also light colored eyes makes you more at risk.
- History of Sunburns: Whenever you get sunburned, you are damaging your skin cells, and furthermore you are increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. After getting a sunburn, your body has to work to repair the damage the sun has caused. Having multiple sunburns as a child, teenager, and adult puts you at risk of developing skin cancer.
- Excessive Sun Exposure: If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you have an increased risk of developing skin cancer. This is especially true if you do not wear sunscreen or your skin is not covered with clothing. Tanning also puts you at further risk. A tan is actually your skin’s response to the injury of UV radiation.
- Moles: People who have a lot of moles or abnormal moles are at increased risk. Abnormal moles are those that are larger and look irregular. Be sure to watch them carefully for any changes.
- Precancerous Skin Lesions: Having actinic keratoses can increase your risk. They appear as rough and scaly patches that are brown to dark pink and are most commonly seen on the lower arms, face, and hands of fair skinned people with sun damaged skin.
- Living in Sunny Climates or High Altitudes: If you are exposed to more sunlight, you are at higher risk. Also living at higher elevations exposes you to more radiation because you are closer to where the sunlight is the strongest.
- Family History of Skin Cancer: If you have a parent or a sibling with skin cancer, you are at increased risk.
- Personal History of Skin Cancer: Once you have had skin cancer once, you are at increased risk for developing it again. Some cancers will even develop in the same area once they have already been removed once.
- Weakened Immune System: People who have a weak immune system have a greater chance of developing skin cancer.
- Fragile Skin: If you have had skin that is weakened for some reason, you are at greater risk of developing skin cancer. Some of these conditions may be a result of psoriasis treatment or eczema creams.
- Exposure to Environmental Hazards: Hazards such as certain herbicides and chemicals can increase your risk.
- Age: With age, your risk of developing skin cancer increases. The damage that has occurred in childhood and in adolescence may not show up until later in life. Some cancers, however, are showing up at alarming rates among women under 40 years of age.
Seeking the Help of a Doctor:
If you notice any new skin growth, change in your skin, or change in a mole, you need to see your doctor. Your doctor may suspect skin cancer by observation of the skin, but may also need to take a biopsy, which is a small sampling of your skin in order to have a proper scientific analysis of your skin in a lab. A biopsy is usually performed in the doctor’s office with a local anesthetic. If you do have skin cancer, there are two stages: local is when the cancer affects only the skin, but metastatic is when cancer has spread beyond just the skin.