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The ABCDE: Focusing on Skin Cancer Awareness

doctor checks out a spot on a woman's shoulder

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that can potentially lead to life-threatening conditions if not treated in time. While anyone can get skin cancer, people with light skin are more likely to develop it than those with darker skin tones.

The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and typically appears as a raised patch of tissue on the surface of the skin. It may be pink or red, sometimes scaly or shiny, and is often found on sun-exposed areas such as the face, arms, and neck.

BCCs rarely spread beyond their site of origin but they can cause permanent disfigurement if not treated in time. Common warning signs include small lumps or bumps that may have visible blood vessels and open sores that don’t heal within four weeks.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is less common than BCC but it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if not caught early enough. It usually appears as a firm red nodule or bump with a crusty top layer.

It may also appear as an ulcerated sore that does not heal within four weeks or any abnormality that continues to grow over time regardless of treatment attempts. Common locations where SCCs are found include areas around the eyes, lips, ears, scalp, and face even when these areas are rarely exposed to sunlight.

Melanoma is a rare but deadly form of skin cancer that accounts for less than two percent of all cases yet causes a majority of deaths due to this disease. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body but most often occur in moles located on sun-exposed areas such as the head, neck, and arms.

To help identify melanomas at an early stage, it’s important to remember the ABCDE rule which stands for Asymmetry: If one half looks different from the other; Border: Its edges should be regular; Color: Look for different shades such as black, blue or red; Diameter: Should be equal throughout; Evolution: Watch out for changes such as new size or color over time.

In addition to recognizing possible symptoms and warning signs related to each type of skin cancer listed above, there are certain risk factors that increase one’s chances of developing this disease including excessive exposure to UV rays which can come from sunlight or tanning beds; any history of radiation therapy; weakened immune system or certain medications used after organ transplants; fair complexion leading to higher sensitivity towards sunlight; family history; age (over 50); having many moles on your body among others.

It is important to note that early detection is key when it comes to treating any form of skin cancer since later stages could lead to metastasis (spread) throughout other parts of the body making treatment difficult so regular self-examination coupled with annual checkups by qualified healthcare professionals should become part of the daily routine whenever possible.

There are various ways through which people can protect themselves against getting skin cancer some of which include always applying sunscreen before going outside regardless of weather conditions, wearing protective clothing such as long pants, hats, sunglasses, etc., and avoiding midday sun hours (10 am - 4 pm), checking oneself regularly for any suspicious moles, refusing tanning beds/UV treatments among others.

While these steps might seem trivial at first glance when added together they can make a huge difference in helping prevent many cases from developing into full-blown cancers.

skin cancer awareness month poster

To sum up, while anyone can get skin cancer there are various measures one can take to reduce the chances of getting it such as proper protection against UV rays coming either sunlight tanning beds avoiding midday hours, regular self-checks, annual visits to doctors ensure a safe environment one live a healthier lifestyle overall.

If you ever feel something wrong with your body do not hesitate to contact a medical professional promptly diagnose and treat in whatever necessary manner possible.

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