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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and, because it is visible, it is the most easily diagnosed and treated.
There are three different types of skin cancer, which are divided into two main groups: melanoma and non-melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma make up the two kinds of non-melanoma skin cancer. The other type skin cancer is called melanoma, which accounts for only 4% of all skin cancer cases, but is accountable for 79% of skin cancer deaths.
Risk Factors for Skin Cancer:
- Fair skin
- Family history of skin cancer
- Immune system suppression from medicines
- Exposure to UV radiation
- Age: the very young and the very old
- Inherited skin conditions such as Xeroderma
Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?
Knowing and understanding the risk factors of cancer and living a healthy lifestyle are important aspects of preventing cancer.
Early Detection of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can develop in almost any area of the skin but it usually appears in areas that are exposed to the most sun, such as the face, neck, forearms, and backs of hands. If you notice any unusual skin changes, contact your physician immediately. Your physician will be able to tell you if the abnormality or growth is benign, precancerous or malignant. You should also receive a full-body exam by a dermatologist.
Skin Cancer Prevention
Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays appears to be the most important factor in the development of skin cancer, but it is largely preventable when you protect yourself from the sun's dangerous rays. Take precautions by staying in the shade, wearing sunscreen and covering exposed areas of skin with appropriate clothing, like a hat.