Cancer is a disease that manifests itself in numerous forms in the human body. People can suffer from different forms of cancer like lung cancer, uterus cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer. Obviously, skin cancer is a malignant growth found on the skin and is the fastest growing type of cancer in America.
Skin cancer usually develops in the epidermis, or the outer most layer of skin. This makes tumors here clearly visible and thus early detection of the cancer is possible. Skin cancer has numerous causes, and exists in three forms, where each form is named after the skin cell it arises from. These are basal cell carcinoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
It is possible to prevent cancer caused by UV exposure by avoiding exposure to sunlight and other UV sources. Wearing sun protective clothes and using a broad spectrum sun screen when outdoors prove to be effective in preventing cancers induced by UV exposure. Any form of cancer can occur when cells transform so that they grow and multiply in the body, without any normal controls. This multiplication of cells leads to a mass called tumor, and the tumors of the skin are called lesions. It is only if the tumors are malignant that they become cancerous.
Malignant tumors are tumors that invade neighboring tissues with their uncontrolled growth. In fact, these tumors can invade other organs through the lymphatic system or bloodstream; and this process is referred to as metastasis. These tumors not only invade the tissues, but also take the oxygen and nutrients it needs for survival and normal functioning.
The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are malignant but unlikely to spread in the body. However if not treated early, they may become locally disfigured. A significant number of these cancer cases are malignant melanomas which belong to a highly aggressive form of cancer that spreads to other parts of the body and prove to be fatal if not treated early.
Skin cancer usually starts as precancerous lesions which are changes in the skin that may not be cancer, but may prove to become cancerous over time. These changes are referred to as dysplasia; and some dysplastic changes in the skin are actinic keratosis which may develop into squamous cell carcinoma and nevi or moles that develop into melanoma after some time. If someone have about 10 – 40 moles on the body; it is only a very few moles that actually become cancerous. It is the moles that look different from others that have to be examined to detect skin cancer early.