Skin cancer is a disease known for causing cancer cells to grow in the skin tissues. It starts in the epidermis that is the outermost layer of the skin and composed of these cell types: melanocytes, squamous, and basal cells.

Here are some pieces of basic information on the condition.

Three Major Types of Skin Cancer

The three major skin cancer forms are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The first two categories mentioned are the most common and are less worrisome as they have a very limited capacity to spread to other parts of the body.

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Risk factors for skin cancer are as follows:

  1. Overexposure to natural or artificial ultraviolet light, such as sunlight or light from a tanning bed
  2. People with the following physical attributes are more susceptible to skin cancer:
  • Fair skin
  • Hazel or blue eyes
  • Blonde or red hair
  1. Having actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may lead to squamous cell carcinoma)
  2. Weakened immune system due to:
  • Diseases such as HIV/AIDS infections or cancer
  • Exposure to radiation due to treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Exposure to arsenic, which is a known chemical predisposed to cancer
  1. People with a history of skin cancer are likely to develop a second skin cancer in the next two years

Skin Cancer Treatment

First, you will need to undergo testing for the condition. Tests or procedures available at clinics such as examine the skin, which may include skin exam where the nurse or doctor will inspect the skin for any signs of cancer such as bumps or spots that look out of place.

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A skin biopsy will follow when the doctor finds any abnormal growth in the skin. A part or all of the suspected growth undergoes collection from the skin and inspected by a pathologist through a microscope for any sign of cancer.

Having risk factors does not mean that you will get skin cancer. If you see any abnormal-looking growth on your skin, you should consult with a doctor immediately. It is still better to be safe than sorry.