Everything You Need To Know About Skin Cancer

Ideally, your cells grow normally, but when cells begin to grow abnormally, cancer can develop. Skin cancer is incredibly common, and like any cancer, it can become deadly if left untreated. If you would like to know more about skin cancer and how you can prevent it with the help of skin cancer screenings, keep reading.

What Is Skin Cancer and What Causes It?

Skin cancer is a blanket term for different types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. As the name suggests, basal cell carcinoma attacks the basal cells, which develop skin cells. Similarly, squamous cell carcinoma attacks squamous cells, which are located on the outer and middle skin layers.

Melanoma develops in melanocyte cells, which make melanin. The more melanin your skin contains, the darker the skin's pigment. Therefore, when you get a tan, your skin develops more melanin. Melanoma is more aggressive than both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.

What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

There are many signs and symptoms of skin cancer, but they vary, depending on which type you have. Basal cell carcinoma often presents with a small bump with a pearly color. Some patients present with small lesions or scaly patches. Squamous cell carcinoma typically presents with a hard, red nodule or a raised or flat scaly sore.

The leading symptom of melanoma is abnormal moles. Moles should have defined edges and a uniform color. They do not usually change in shape or color as time passes. If a mole does start to change, it may be becoming abnormal. An abnormal mole may have undefined edges and consist of different shades of brown or black.

How Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?

One of the best ways to prevent skin cancer is by avoiding UV light. You can do this by avoiding exposing your skin to the sun by staying in the shade, wearing a hat, and using sunscreen. However, there are other causes of skin cancer besides UV exposure, so you should also consider regular skin cancer screenings.

These screenings allow the dermatologist to look for any abnormal moles or moles that have changed since the last visit. This means you are more likely to catch skin cancer early, which usually means a better prognosis.

Skin cancer is incredibly common, but you can help prevent it with sunscreen and skin cancer examinations. If left untreated, skin cancer can metastasize to other parts of the body. If you would like to schedule a skincare check, contact a dermatology clinic, like Advanced Dermatology of Northern California.