What is skin cancer and what types are there?
I need to clear doubts! A few days ago I was very worried because I saw that I had grown a fairly large mole on my back. Although at first I didn't give it much importance, my best friend, who is a dermatologist, told me that it never hurts to look at them… Because they can be a symptom of skin cancer! So, due to the sudden concern that came over me, I started to investigate the subject.
Definition of skin cancer:
Skin cancer develops in the body due to abnormal growth of cells in the dermis that usually appears in the area most exposed to the sun , although it can also develop in areas where UV rays do not fall direct way. For this reason, the most frequent places for this disease are the scalp , face , lips , ears , neck , chest , arms , hands and legs .
It should be noted that the skin tone does not matter ; that is: no one is excluded from suffering from this disease, regardless of the amount of melatonin they have (although people with a darker tone tend to also develop it in areas where the sun does not usually affect).
Types of skin cancer:
In the epidermis (that is, in the upper layer of the skin) humans have 3 types of cells . That is why, depending on which the disease affects , we will have one type of treatment or another to cure ourselves:
- Squamous cells: below the outer surface and make an internal lining of the skin to give it greater protection.
- Basal cells: produce new skin cells , under the squamous cells.
- Melanocytes: produce melanin ( pigment that gives skin its color ). The more you sunbathe, the more melanin they produce, to protect the deeper layers of the skin.
In this way, we can highlight 3 types of skin cancer (although there may be many others):
- Squamous cell carcinoma: in this type of skin cancer, different thick and scaly lumps usually appear in the affected area. In the case of men , the risk of metastasis is more common. In addition, the area most affected by this type of carcinoma is usually the lower lip.
- Basal cell carcinoma: This disease is rarely fatal, so treatments are usually quite successful . However, did you know that 25% of people who suffer from it develop it again about 5 years later? In this type of carcinoma, the skin may reveal a crusty ulcer , a scaly or bleeding patch of skin, or any type of lump .
- Melanoma: This type of skin cancer is created when melanocytes begin to grow out of control and is considered the deadliest . In these cases, taking into account that it is a disease that generally does not hurt , it is important to keep a certain amount of control over our moles (the ones we had and the ones that can appear), because if we see that they undergo changes in size , shape , color or texture , we should review them with a specialist. However, even if there is no pain, it is normal if you feel itching or a strange sensation in the epidermis. According to several studies, men develop this type of cancer more than women.
Causes of skin cancer:
The causes for developing cancer in the dermis can be varied. However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of a person suffering from it sooner or later:
- Mutations in the DNA of skin cells: Skin cancer is a consequence of abnormal growth of cells that form a mass of cancer cells .
- Exposure to ultraviolet light: sunbathing a lot (and without protection ) can cause this type of disease. However, this cause does not explain why a person can develop the disease in areas where the sun does not usually shine. For this reason, experts believe that there may be other types of causes that influence the risk of suffering from it. Among them, exposure to toxic substances or a condition that weakens the immune system are being considered (although neither of these theories is proven for now).
Treatment for skin cancer:
Each person and each disease is different, so if you doubt that you may have any of the three types of skin cancer , you should go to a specialist to assess and diagnose your case.
However, skin cancer is usually curable , so it is very likely that, after detecting your disease, the treatment will be through surgery , radiotherapy or chemotherapy .
There is no excuse anymore! Remember that it doesn't matter if it's winter or summer... UV rays always affect our skin . So you should not forget to protect your epidermis every day with a good sunscreen (minimum SPF 15 every two hours).