The skin is the largest organ of the body that protects the internal organs of the body from injury and serves as a barrier to protect the body against germs and bacteria. It also prevents excessive loss of water and salts from the body. This large organ of the body can suffer from a form of cancer called skin cancer.
Now what is skin cancer? When you look up the question what is skin cancer on the internet or any book, you find that skin cancer is the cancer of the skin, and is found in two forms; melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Most of the cases of skin cancer are classified as non-melanoma, and occurs either in basal or squamous cells of the skin.
Basal and squamous cells are located at the base of the outer layer of the skin or may cover the internal and external surfaces of the body. Usually non-melanoma skin cancers develop on areas of the body that get exposed to the sun like the face, neck, ear, lips and back of the hands. It is depending on the type of skin cancer that the cancer grows fast or slowly. However rarely does it spread to other parts of the body. This is why this form of skin cancer is treatable.
The next piece of information you get for your question ‘what is skin cancer’ from the internet is that melanoma skin cancer is the second form of skin cancer. This form of skin cancer is treatable when detected in early stages. However, only a minimal number of skin cancer patients suffer from melanoma. It is more dangerous than other skin cancers and is usually the cause for most deaths resulting from skin cancer. This is because unlike the non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma can spread to other body parts quickly.
The other information you will find when you look up ‘what is skin cancer’ is an estimate of the number of people who die from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there were about 10,850 deaths from skin cancer in the year 2007. You also learn about the risk factors for skin cancer when you look up ‘what is skin cancer’. It is here that you learn that unprotected and excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most common risk factor for skin cancer. Those with a fair complexion and a family history for skin cancer are more prone to the disease.
Those suffering occupational exposure to coal tar, creosote, arsenic compounds and radium, those who had suffered severe sunburn as a child and people having multiple or atypical moles are all at a higher risk for skin cancer.