Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know

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Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the body. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and it can be caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources, such as tanning beds. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

In this article, we will discuss skin cancer, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and it usually appears as a small, flesh-colored, or white bump on the skin. It can also look like a sore that doesn’t heal.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, and it usually appears as a firm, red bump on the skin. It can also look like a sore that doesn’t heal.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and it usually appears as a dark spot on the skin that is different from the surrounding skin. It can also look like a mole that changes in size, shape, or color.

Skin cancer can occur on any part of the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, arms, and legs.

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer is caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other sources, such as tanning beds. The UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. 

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Who is at risk for skin cancer?

Anyone can get skin cancer, but there are some factors that can increase your risk. These include:

  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • A history of sunburns
  • Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other sources

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

The most common symptom of skin cancer is a new growth or change in an existing growth on the skin. Other symptoms can include:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Crusting
  • Scaling
  • Changes in skin color

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor for an evaluation.

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

Skin cancer is usually diagnosed through a skin biopsy. During a skin biopsy, a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope. The sample can be taken from the suspicious area or from a nearby lymph node.

How is skin cancer treated?

The treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, stage, and location of cancer. Skin cancer treatment in Salt Lake City and other cities in US can include:

  • Surgery– Surgery is the most common treatment for skin cancer. The cancerous tissue is removed, and healthy tissue is repaired. The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancerous tissue while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
  • Radiation therapy– Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. It can be used to treat skin cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
  • Chemotherapy– Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be used to treat skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Targeted therapy– Targeted therapy uses drugs that target specific molecules in cancer cells. It can be used to treat skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Immunotherapy– Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. It can be used to treat skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
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What are the risks of skin cancer?

If skin cancer is not found early and treated, it can spread to other parts of the body and be life-threatening.

How can skin cancer be prevented?

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid exposure to UV radiation. You can do this by:

  • Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
  • Wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats
  • Staying in the shade, especially during midday hours
  • Avoiding tanning beds and sunlamps

If you are at high risk for skin cancer, your doctor may recommend additional measures, such as regular skin exams.