Did you know May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!


Melanoma

FACT! Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

What is Skin Cancer? The American Academy of Dermatology states: People get cancer when some cells in the body are damaged and start growing way too fast. These growing cells make spots or bumps called tumors. Nobody knows why some people get cancer and others don't. Lots of different things can cause cancer and sometimes doctors don't know what causes it. But they do know for sure that the sun is one of the things that causes skin cancer.

The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable, but can be disfiguring and costly to treat. ... The majority of these types of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

• The sun damages your skin. This happens because the sun gives off a type of light called ultraviolet rays, or UV rays. These rays damage your skin and can give you skin cancer. Sunscreen helps keep these rays from hurting your skin.

• Tanning beds damage your skin, too. Getting a tan from a tanning bed is a really bad idea. Tanning beds use UV rays, so they damage your skin just like the sun does.

• Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer. It often begins in moles. You probably have lots of moles and probably will get new ones. Moles are very common, and most are no big deal.

But if you have a mole that looks really different from the others, that itches or bleeds, has a weird shape or has different colors, talk to your doctor and have it looked at more closely. This is nothing to ignore. If anyone in your family has had melanoma, you need to be extra careful with your exposure to UV rays.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America state these facts: Skin cancer occurs when the body does not repair damage to the DNA inside skin cells, allowing the cells to divide and grow uncontrollably. Skin cell damage may be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and skin type. But most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light produced by the sun. Skin cancer may appear as a dark spot, lesion, a wound that does not heal or a bump on the skin. The type of skin cancer depends on the cells that are damaged. For example:

-Basal cell carcinoma the most common type of skin cancer, is caused by damage to basal cells that sit just below the skin’s surface.

-Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer of the cells on the surface of the skin. Squamous cells also make up the lining of the digestive and respiratory systems and the inner lining of hollow organs, such as the kidneys.

-Melanoma may occur when melanocytes are damaged. These cells give skin its pigment and darken the skin when it is exposed to the sun.

-Merkel cell carcinoma develops in the cells that give skin its ability to sense touch. That’s why these cells, which are nestled below the skin, next to nerve cells, are sometimes called touch cells.

-Kaposi's sarcoma (KS): This type of skin cancer may appear as purplish blotches or lesions on the skin (usually on the face or legs), but it may also form inside the mouth or in lymph nodes. In rare cases, lesions may develop in the lungs, causing breathing problems.

-Lymphoma of the skin: Lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymphatic system, may form in a variety of locations in the body, including the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus and skin. This cancer may appear as red or purple patches, moles or pimples on the skin that may itch or ulcerate. Other symptoms may include fatigue and weight loss.