Skin Cancer

A lot of people take their skin for granted, probably because they know little about it. Here is a little eye opening article that will deliver a couple of fast facts about skin cancer.

The Skin

An amazing thing about the skin is that it is in fact the biggest organ in our body. It covers all the internal organs as well as serves to give these organs protection. It also acts as a barrier from all other harmful elements outside of our body, including germs and other elements that could harm our internal organs. It also helps keep our body from losing a lot of fluid. Aside from all that, it aids in keeping our temperature at normal level and helps our body get rid of wastes. There are some particular cells in our skin that interact with our brain and make us feel temperature, touch, and pain sensations.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is probably the most widespread of all cancers. About half of every cancer in the US is skin cancer. A total of above 2 million cases of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancer is discovered in the US every year. The gravest kind of skin cancer, melanoma, is expected to account beyond 75,000 of skin cancer cases in 2012.

Types of Skin Cancers

Squamous and basal cell skin cancers. These cancers are categorized as non-melanomas. Usually, they begin in the squamous and basal cell, thus the names. These are located just at the base of the skin’s outer layer.

Most of the time, non-melanoma skin cancers occur on the parts of the body that are exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, lips, ear, as well as the back of the hands. They can either be slow or fast growing, depending on the kind, but they seldom spread to other parts of our body. Squamous or basal cell cancers have higher chances of being cured if they are discovered early and treated right then.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

This type of cancer starts at the melanocytes (cells that produce pigment melanin for skin color). Melanin serves to give protection to the deeper skin layers from the sun’s harmful rays.

Like the previous kind, melanoma is mostly curable when discovered at early stages. This type accounts for just a few of skin cancer, yet it is more dangerous than others and actually causes most of the deaths from skin cancers. More than 75,000 cases are expected to be melanoma skin cancer in 2012. Around 9,000 of about 12,000 skin cancer deaths each year is due to this kind.

Other kinds of Skin Cancer

The various other kinds of skin cancers are rare. These include Merkel cell carcinoma, keratoacanthomas, Kaposi sarcoma, skin lymphoma, sarcomas, and skin adnexal tumors. These cancers are non-melanoma kinds.

Skin Cancer Risks

There are a lot of risks that can bring about skin cancer. These include:

  • Pale complexion
  • Too much ultraviolet (UV) exposure (includes tanning booths) or when going out without any type of skin protection
  • Work related (exposure to radium, coal tar, creosote, pitch, or arsenic compounds)
  • Family history
  • Unusual or numerous moles
  • Extreme sunburns (past history included)

Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer, when found early, can be very helpful for both the patient and his doctor. The following signs and symptoms should be help identify whether or not skin cancer is present:

  • Any skin change, particularly the mole size or color, spot, growth, or a new growth (whether it has color or not)
  • Spread of color or pigmentation (such as when color goes past the mole mark)
  • Sensations changes (pain, itchiness, or tenderness)
  • Appearance change , bleeding, or oozing of a nodule or bump

Skin Cancer Prevention

In order to help decrease the risk of skin cancers, we should do some of the activities that help keep them from developing.

  • The sun should be avoided between 10a.m. and 4p.m.
  • Seek for shade, especially during noon time when the rays of the sun are the strongest. A good trick is to observe our shadow. If it is shorter than you that means the rays of the sun are at their strongest.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat. These will help cover your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
  • Even when there are clouds, UV rays can still travel through them.


 Image courtesy of

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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