The skin is an important yet often neglected organ. It gives protection from the body, helps absorb important nutrients from the environment and makes us withdraw from injurious stimuli through sensation. The skin can protect the body in so many ways yet we sometimes forget to take care of it the proper way regularly.
As a result our skin gets exposed to harmful radiation and chemicals. This is why skin cancer results in some people. Skin cancer is said to be the most common type of cancer which can affect light-skinned individuals. It is common among people of the United States and Australia. In some cases, even children are affected by this type of cancer.
Cancer occurs because of some defects in the way the cells of the body grow and mature. We know that in the cells there are genetic material by which the processes of growth, division, maturity and death are based. The information leading to these processes lie in the cell's DNA. Thus when the DNA is damaged, the cells would abnormally divide in a rapid fashion and grow without control. These cells pile up to become a mass known as a tumor. A tumor can be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors can spread to other parts of the body.
In skin cancer, the cells of the skin begin to divide and grow without control. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell cancer and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma usually starts in areas which have been exposed to harmful rays of the sun and grow slowly. These cancers usually do not spread to other parts of the body and are the most common of all skin cancers.
The squamous cell type of cancer usually is found in areas which are exposed to excessive sunlight yet they can also be found on areas which are not exposed to the sun. This type of cancers sometimes spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer which can spread to major organs of the body such as the lungs, liver, bones and brain. They begin in the melanocytes or the pigment-producing cells of the skin.
People have certain characteristics which makes them at high risk for skin cancers. These risk factors include having light or fair complexion, having red or light-colored hair, having blue or green or gray eyes, those who are at increased risk having sunburns when being exposed to the sun, those with prolonged sun exposure from childhood, those with a prior history of skin cancer, those with a family history of skin cancer, those who have more moles in the skin, those who had abnormal moles or nevi in the past and those who have undergone photosensitive therapy or immunosuppressive therapy.
Skin Cancer Among Middle Aged Adults
A new study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers found that the incidence of skin cancer in middle-aged men and women who were 40 to 60 years old rose to about eightfold from the years 1970 to 2009. The highest rates occurred in middle-aged women. The experts are also concerned of the fact that melanoma incidence is slowly rising, considering that melanoma is a dangerous type of skin cancer. The researchers derived the results from the records of the Rochester Epidemiology Project which is a collaboration between health care professionals from Southeastern Minnesota. They also found out that there was a 4.5 fold increase in skin cancers in white, non-Hispanic men in the 40 to 60 age group and a 24-fold increase in white, non-Hispanic women in the 40 to 60 age group. The researchers also noted that there is an increasing incidence of melanoma among women under the age of 50, a finding that may prompt investigation in relationships between premenopausal changes and skin cancer. Melanomas in men were deeper as compared to melanomas occurring in women.
The researchers hope to disseminate this information among health experts worldwide. For more information about skin cancer, you can check out our other articles on this site.