One of the most common forms of cancer in the United States in Skin cancer. According to the current statistics, 2-3 million non-melanoma skin cancer and 132,000 melanoma skin cancer cases occur worldwide every year. Skin cancer is so common that one in every three cancers diagnosed is skin cancer and as per the Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, 1 out of 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
As global warming causes the ozone layer to deplete, the protective filter of the atmosphere loses and UV radiation from the sun reaches the earth’s surface and the global cases of melanoma keep increasing. It has been anticipated that a 10% decrease in the ozone levels results in more 300,000 non-melanoma cases and 4,500 melanoma skin cancer cases and it seems to be on the rise. The factors that lead to increasing cases of melanoma is especially connected to recreational purposes like sunburns and tanning beds.
Skin cancers are easy to get diagnosed in the early stages as they appear on the exposed part of the skin. So if you examine your skin regularly for any new growths and spurts with unusual colouring and texture, you can discuss it with a dermatologist and get checked and treated.
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
When there is an unusual growth or sore on the skin that just wouldn’t go away with any topical ointments or medications, it is the first indication of non-melanoma skin cancer. It first appears as a small nodule, a rash or an irregular patch on the skin surface that with the slightest injury can ooze and bleed profusely. As cancer starts spreading to the deeper layers of the skin, the size and shape of the visible skin mass changes. Visit your dermatologist or a specialist doctor at once to get the skin patch checked.
There are two types of non-melanoma skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Both these skin cancers can appear as bumps, lesions or unusual patches on any part of the body.
Basal Cell Carcinoma symptoms – Appears especially on the face and neck.
- Waxy, smooth and pearly nodule
- Firm, red lump
- Occasional bleeding
- Looks like a flat, red, crusty spot on the skin
- May start healing but never completely heals
- Painless ulcer
Squamous Cell Carcinoma symptoms – Appears on the face, neck, arms, bald scalps, back of hands and lower legs. It might also appear in the genital regions.
- Scaly appearance
- Rough, lesion-like patches
- Hard, horny cap
- Raised skin in the area of cancer
- Bleeding and tender to touch
There is another type of skin cancer known as Melanoma Skin Cancer that begins in the melanocytes. This type of cancer can also develop on the skin that has not been exposed to the sun.
Here are some symptoms of melanoma skin cancer
- Large brown spot with dark speckles
- Mole that changes in colour, size, feel and bleeds
- Small lesion with irregular border appearing red, white, blue or blue-black
- Dark lesions on palms, soles, fingertips, under nail beds, toes, mucous membranes of mouth nose or on the genital area
Skin cancers that get detected early can be easily treated so you must keep checking your skin at all times and talk to a doctor if any unusual spots and bumps appear on skin that worries you. Also, know that all unusual skin changes are not cancer. Your doctor can make a better diagnosis.