Skin Cancer

National Cancer Institute Chart. Check yourself and your loved ones for signs of cancer.

It’s Valentine’s Day as I write this. What better time to check your loved one for skin cancer? One in five Americans will get some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, and this is probably true for many other countries, as well.  Even more Australians will get skin cancer than in the U.S.  Although lighter-skinned people are more at risk, people with dark skin also get skin cancer and should also take precautions and check themselves and others.

In recent years, several of my family members have gotten skin cancer, including basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.

Although there is a genetic component, overexposure to the sun and repeated sunburns greatly add to the risk.  Even in winter, avoid overexposure to the sun and wear sunblock. Stay away from tanning beds.

From Wikipedia:  There are a variety of different skin cancer symptoms. These include changes in the skin that do not heal, ulcering in the skin, discolored skin, and changes in existing moles, such as jagged edges to the mole and enlargement of the mole.

  • Basal cell carcinoma usually looks like a raised, smooth, pearly bump on the sun-exposed skin of the head, neck or shoulders. Sometimes small blood vessels can be seen within the tumor. Crusting and bleeding in the center of the tumor frequently develops. It is often mistaken for a sore that does not heal. This form of skin cancer is the least deadly and with proper treatment can be completely eliminated, often without scarring.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is commonly a red, scaling, thickened patch on sun-exposed skin. Ulceration and bleeding may occur. When SCC is not treated, it may develop into a large mass. Squamous cell is the second most common skin cancer. It is dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as a melanoma.
  • Most melanomas are brown to black looking lesions. Warning signs that might indicate a malignant melanoma include change in size, shape, color or elevation of a mole. Other signs are the appearance of a new mole during adulthood or new pain, itching, ulceration or bleeding.
  • Merkel cell carcinomas are most often rapidly growing, non-tender red, purple or skin colored bumps that are not painful or itchy. They may be mistaken for a cyst or other type of cancer.  About skin cancer.

A related post I wrote after I was diagnosed with basal cell cancer.   Vitamin D — The Sunshine Vitamin.

Two important websites:

National Cancer Institute Information on Skin Cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Here’s a blog post by my friend Jan describing our spring break trip in college to Padre Island, where we got horribly sunburned within hours of our arrival!  Done With The Sun.

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15 Comments

Filed under Health, Life, Medicine

15 responses to “Skin Cancer

  1. Great article! There are many forms of cancer to be aware of nowadays thanks for the informative article.

  2. As a fair-haired girl I get a check-up twice a year, and wear a big hat and long sleeves in the summer. I burned way too much as a child, so am hoping not to suffer for it as an adult. I agree, tanning beds are evil.

  3. Tasha

    thanks for the useful information! I wanted to let you know that I got bored with my current blog title and have made another one. I will be copying and pasting some of my entries and creating new ones. I will be adding you to my blogroll and hope you will add me.

    http://imnotfancy.wordpress.com

    cheers,

    Tasha

  4. But if you examine the numbers, it’s because people were living long enough to die of cancer, and avoiding infections, heart disease,thanks for the useful information!===>http://www.justcancer.org

  5. Really interesting Cathy. I was diagnosed with Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma a couple of years ago; most probably due to having spent most of my young and teenage years in the Far East when the risks were unknown and sun blocks hadn’t been invented.
    Good advice too. Catch and treat them early, stay out of strong sun and wear sun block. It could save your life.

  6. your post , is very useful, yeah everyone should be aware these type of basic knowledge about skin cancer.

  7. The prevalent types of skin cancer are malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers both of which have high cure rates when spotted and treated in their preliminary stages. Those with a past of skin cancer are more likely to develop it yet again and hence must ideally get checked up on a yearly basis.
    Malignant melanoma, particularly in the advanced staging is grave and treating it is tricky.
    http://www.cancery.com

  8. This is really great and informative article.We need to spread cancer awareness on how to face cancer problem.Please update more useful information about it.

  9. sharayah

    i just had a mole removed. it was a mole i had from childhood and i was seeing a bit of a change.so as a woman that love too watch DR,OZ i seen a show on skin cancer and said to my self hey my mole is looking like that a little. so im now just waiting for my Dr to call me with my good or bad news. i must say every one tells me because in a spanish woman that i will be ok but why whould my mole start to change then.my god look over me in my time of need. thanks for your story.

  10. I know this an “old post” but I just found your blog, yesterday…it’s, of course, still relevant!

  11. So you’re interested in health questions? Ever heard about LDN?

  12. Tusen takk for at du besøker bloggen min vakre. (Thank you for visiting my blog.)

  13. great article ..thanks for sharing dear

  14. Really very informative writeup. Thanks for sharing.

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