The most common form of cancer in US is skin cancer. The number of cases is increasing every year. The association of skin cancer with other cancers such as breast, lung and colon is also on the rise. The number of people affected with skin cancer is more than the sum of the people affected by various kinds of cancers. It is estimated that one out of every five Americans is likely to be affected with skin cancer in their lifetime.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most prominent factor for the presence of skin cancer. Even though this kind of cancer will not come under the fatal category, the cancer has great scope to disfigure the body. More than 2.8 million patients are diagnosed for BCC.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. About 700,000 patients are diagnosed for SCC. People who live for more than 65 years will be affected by either BCC or SCC at least once in their lifetime. In 2013, there were 3170 deaths due to non-melanoma skin cancer. It is concluded that 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers have links with exposure to UV rays.
It is reported that at least one person will die with melanoma every 57 minutes in US. Even though melanoma accounts for less than 5% of total skin cancers, the vast majority of deaths occur due to melanoma kind of cancer. Melanoma is one of the three cancers that are affecting men and it is decreasing the mortality. The other cancers that have an impact on health include liver cancer and esophageal cancer.
Some of the risk factors for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are as mentioned below:
- Excess exposure to ultra-violet radiation
- Pale skin and skin which will not tan easily
- Exposure to coal tar, creosote and arsenic compounds
- Family history
- Exposure to sunburns in the past
- Multiple number of moles
It is fortunate that skin cancer can be diagnosed in the early stages. If the patient as well as the doctor is pro-active, it is possible to treat the condition. Formation of a new mole and change in color or size of the existing moles is some of the prominent symptoms that are witnessed in people suffering with skin cancer.
In some people bleeding or oozing will occur. Formation of scale on the skin is one of the prominent symptoms. The color of the mole will spread past the edge of the mole. There might be itching and change in the tenderness of the skin.
It is very much important to avoid exposure to the intense sunlight. Especially, exposure to the Sun in between 10 AM and 4 PM should be avoided. Necessary safety precautions should be taken. Hands, head and eyes should be protected through appropriate protective gear. Exposure to sun lamps should be avoided. UV rays will also travel through clouds. Hence, the necessary precautions should be taken to reduce the risk for skin cancer.