Skin Cancer Awareness
No one is exempt from the potential risk of skin cancer.
So be skin aware!
Skin cancers don’t necessarily start as moles. While some skin cancers can develop from existing moles, many others arise directly from healthy skin, bypassing the “mole” stage altogether. Therefore, even if you don’t have many moles, it’s crucial to regularly examine your entire skin for any suspicious changes.
Early detection and treatment are crucial for successful skin cancer management. If you notice any suspicious changes on your skin, consult a doctor immediately.
Regular skin checks are also recommended, especially for individuals with high risk factors.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a general term for a group of abnormal growths that develop on the skin. It occurs when skin cells grow and divide at an uncontrolled rate, forming tumours.
These tumours can be cancerous (malignant), meaning they can invade and spread to other parts of the body, or non-cancerous (benign), meaning they stay localised and don’t pose a threat to health.
The Types Of Skin Cancer:
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – The most common type, usually slow-growing and rarely spreads. BCC usually arises directly from sun-exposed skin, especially on the head, neck, and torso. It rarely develops from a mole.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – The second most common type, slightly more aggressive than BCC but still rarely spreads. SCC typically appears on sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, and arms. Similar to BCC, it doesn’t often originate from moles.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) – Less common, and more aggressive than other non-melanoma types, can spread more easily. MCC can develop on both sun-exposed and sun-protected areas, often appearing like a firm, painless nodule. MCC rarely arises from moles.
Less common than non-melanoma types. However, these types are more aggressive and more likely to spread if not detected early.
Causes Of Skin Cancer
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation – The primary cause, from both sunlight and tanning beds.
Certain genetic factors – Some people have a higher risk due to family history or gene mutations.
Exposure to chemicals or radiation – Some rare cases can be caused by certain chemicals or radiation therapy.
Symptoms Of Skin Cancer
Changes in existing moles – Size, shape, colour, border, or elevation changing.
New growths – Unusual-looking bumps, patches, or sores that don’t heal.
Bleeding or crusting – Any skin lesion that bleeds or crusts can be a warning sign.
Itching or pain – Some skin cancers, though not all, can cause itching or pain.
Remember, skin cancer is treatable and often curable if detected early. Be proactive about your skin health, know the warning signs, and don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if needed.
ABCDE Melanoma Checks
Asymmetry – One half of the mole does not match the other.
Border – The border of a mole is irregular, jagged, or notched.
Colour – The colour of a mole is uneven, with shades of brown, black, red, white, or blue.
Diameter – The diameter of a mole is larger than 6 millimetres (about the size of a pencil eraser).
Evolving – The mole is changing in size, shape, or colour, or any new symptom like bleeding, itching, or crusting develops.
Important – Melanoma can originate in a pre-existing mole or appear directly on otherwise healthy skin.
Other Warning Signs Of Skin Cancer
A sore that doesn’t heal within 4 weeks.
A red, scaly patch that bleeds or crusts.
A painless lump that grows quickly.
Dark streaks under a fingernail or toenail.
Tips For Monitoring Your Skin Health
Conduct regular self-examinations using the “ABCDEs of Melanoma” as a guide.
Pay attention to new or changing growths, including bumps, patches, sores, or bleeding lesions.
Don’t neglect areas like your scalp, ears, back, and feet.
Use a mirror or ask someone to help check difficult-to-see areas.
Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you notice any concerning changes on your skin.
By being proactive about your skin health and knowing the different types and origins of skin cancer, you can increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment. It’s important to see a doctor if you notice any of these signs.
Tips To Preventing Skin Cancer
Limit your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Avoid tanning beds.
Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days.
Seek shade during the peak hours of sunlight, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wear protective clothing, such as a hat and sunglasses.
Examine your skin regularly for any changes.
For more tips and guidance read the blog:
‘How To Be Safe In The Sun’
Here at Emporium Treatment Clinic in Marylebone, we provide expert advice in skincare for home use or professional in clinic treatments. A skin treatment is often a place where the first detection of skin cancer may be obtained.
In addition to the Emporium Treatment Clinic core practice, medical GP’s are on site, 90 York Street, London to support any skin concerns relating to skin cancer. Women’s helath care is also covered in support of cervical cancer prevention.
World Cancer Day
Be health aware.
Take preventative measures.
More resources for further information about skin cancer:
The American Cancer Society:https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer.html
The Skin Cancer Foundation:https://www.skincancer.org/
The National Cancer Institute:https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin
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