If you live in a city or country that is always shrouded in deep clouds, chances are you do not worry too much about skin cancer. However, in the UK, awareness of skin cancer has led more than 50,000 people to check their symptoms in a single campaign by the National Health Service in July 2019. Such statistics only show that people are beginning to realize that skin cancer is not only prevalent in sunny weather. However, even though we know the link between skin cancer and sun exposure, there is much more to say about this ailment.
In the UK, a country that does not receive extreme sun exposure, skin cancer kills 2,000 people every year. The majority of cases are not likely to spread and won’t kill anybody, but an aggressive type of cancer called melanoma is considered to be the fifth most common type of cancer in this country.
There are certain facts and figures about skin cancer that stand out from other types of cancer. For example, cancer metastasis is uncommon in most types of skin cancer, and it is triggered by sun exposure but sometimes appears in areas not typically exposed, such as the back and the bottom of the feet. Recent studies have also identified that patients with a recurrent diagnosis of non-invasive forms of skin cancer have a higher risk to develop unrelated forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia.
Thus, do we have to change our current conception of skin cancer? Is there anything else to know about this ailment, its causes and consequences? Do you really know how to differentiate skin cancer from a mole? In this article, you will find relevant information to understand the real causes of skin cancer, the preventative measures you can use, how to detect a suspicious mole, and much more.
Types of skin cancer
Skin cancer is influenced by different factors, including environmental factors and genetic predisposition. According to each one, we can determine at least 4 types of skin cancer with varying prevalence, origins, and therapeutic options.
They are as follows:
Basal cell carcinoma
It is the most common variant of skin cancer, and it is not typically aggressive. Basal cell carcinoma is more common in patients with fair skin, especially after prolonged sun exposure, frequent tanning, and other risk factors. It looks like a pearl-colored bump, but may also look very similar to the surrounding skin or slightly pinkish.
This type of cancer is more common in areas with frequent sun exposure, including the neck, head, and arms. Even though it is not considered an aggressive type of cancer that spreads to other organs, basal cell carcinoma can grow and expand into the adjacent nerves and bones. Thus, it causes disfigurement of the area and becomes more difficult to treat if the initial symptoms are neglected.