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What Gives You Skin Cancer

How Does The Sun Cause Cancer

Good Health: Doctor gives pro tips on how to spot skin cancer
    • How does the sun cause skin cancer?

    1st March 2022

    With the sun beginning to emerge, many will want to spend a bit more time in parks, gardens and at the beach to get that healthy glow. But did you know that this glow is radiation burn caused by exposure to ultraviolet light? While being in the sunshine supplies us with vitamin D and can improve our mood, this radiation burn also increases the risk of skin cancer.

    Why Do You Get A Skin Cancer Check

    30 years of SunSmart programs have helped to increase awareness of skin cancer in the community. But while most people realize that early detection is the safest thing, there is debate about whether to go to Skin Cancer Clinic Gold Coastwith routine intact skin.

    Prevention services for breast, cervical, and bowel cancer suggest mammograms, stool tests, and Pap tests for individuals, although that was not the issue for Skin Cancer Checks.

    Read Also: What Happens When You Have Skin Cancer

    Myth : Only Older People Get Skin Cancer

    Prevention counts at any age. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults age 25-29 and the second most common form of cancer in people 15-29 years old.

    And the younger you are exposed to the sun, the higher your risk for getting skin cancer later in life. This is especially true if you have had a blistering sunburn at a young age.

    When it comes to skin cancer, theres a lot more at play than just age. The biggest factor seems to be your UV exposure over the course of your lifetime, including childhood and young adulthood, George says.

    Read Also: Survival Rates For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

    How Is Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Diagnosed

    Diagnosis is made by clinical exam and a biopsy. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are staged by size and extent of growth. Basal cell cancers rarely metastasize to lymph nodes, but they can grow quite large and invade local structures. Squamous cell cancers have a much higher incidence of lymph node involvement in the neck and parotid gland and can spread along nerves.

    Melanoma is staged, based not on size but on how deeply it invades the skin layers. Therefore, a superficial or shave biopsy will not provide accurate staging information used to guide treatment. Melanomas can have a very unpredictable course and may spread to distant organs. Melanomas with intermediate thickness often require sentinel node biopsy, a surgical procedure performed by a head and neck surgeon, to determine if microscopic spreading to lymph nodes has occurred.

    What Causes Skin Cancer In A Child

    Skin Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

    Exposure to sunlight is the main factor for skin cancer. Skin cancer is more common in people with light skin, light-colored eyes, and blond or red hair. Other risk factors include:

    • Age. Your risk goes up as you get older.

    • Family history of skin cancer

    • Having skin cancer in the past

    • Time spent in the sun

    • Using tanning beds or lamps

    • History of sunburns

    • Having atypical moles . These large, oddly shaped moles run in families.

    • Radiation therapy in the past

    • Taking a medicine that suppresses the immune system

    • Certain rare, inherited conditions such as basal cell nevus syndrome or xeroderma pigmentosum

    • HPV infection

    • Actinic keratoses or Bowen disease. These are rough or scaly red or brown patches on the skin.

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    Stages Of Skin Cancer

    If you receive a skin cancer diagnosis, the next step is to identify its stage.

    Staging is how doctors determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. Staging is common with melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma, because these cancers are more likely to spread.

    Typically, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas dont involve staging. These skin cancers are easily treated and dont usually spread. However, your doctor may recommend staging for larger lesions.

    Staging is based on the size of the growth and whether it has high-risk features. High-risk features include:

    • larger than 2 millimeters thick
    • spreads into the lower levels of the skin
    • spreads into the space around a nerve
    • appears on the lips or ears
    • appears abnormal under a microscope

    Heres a general breakdown of skin cancer stages:

    • Stage 0. The cancer hasnt spread to surrounding areas of the skin.
    • Stage 1. The cancer is 2 centimeters across or less, with no high-risk features.
    • Stage 2. The cancer is more than 2 cm across and has a least two high-risk features.
    • Stage 3. The cancer has spread to the bones in the face or nearby lymph nodes.
    • Stage 4. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or internal organs.

    Basic Information About Skin Cancer

    Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the skin, it is called skin cancer.

    Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Some people are at higher risk of skin cancer than others, but anyone can get it. The most preventable cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.

    Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. To lower your risk of getting skin cancer, you can protect your skin from UV rays from the sun and from artificial sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.While enjoying the benefits of being outdoors, people can decrease skin cancer risk by using sun protection. Protect yourself by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying and re-applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.

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    Determine Your Skin Cancer Risk

    The guidelines above apply to everyone, but certain individuals are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer and should be especially cautious with sun exposure.

    If any of the descriptions below apply to you, see a dermatologist for a full-body examination once a year. Skin cancer risk is cumulative. The more risk factors you have and the more sun damage over a lifetime the higher your risk.

    Skin cancer risk factors include:

    • Personal history of skin cancer or precancerous skin lesions
    • Tendency to freckle or burn easily
    • Lots of sun exposure throughout your life
    • Many sunburns as a child or adolescent
    • Family history of skin cancer or conditions that are more likely to develop into skin cancer, such as dysplastic nevus syndrome or numerous atypical moles
    • Chronic, non-healing wounds or burn injuries
    • Radiation therapy
    • Exposure to toxic materials, such as arsenic
    • Exposure to certain subtypes of human papilloma virus . HPV 6,11,16 and 18 have been linked to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, especially in patients with compromised immune systems.
    • Organ transplant patients on immunosuppressant drugs have an increased risk of skin cancer

    What Happens During A Skin Cancer Screening

    Can pen ink give you skin cancer?

    Skin cancer screenings may be done by yourself, your primary care provider, or a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in disorders of the skin.

    If you are screening yourself, you will need to do a head-to-toe exam of your skin. The exam should be done in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Youll also need a hand mirror to check areas that are hard to see. The exam should include the following steps:

    • Stand in front of the mirror and look at your face, neck, and stomach.
    • Women should look under their breasts.
    • Raise your arms and look at your left and right sides.
    • Look at the front and back of your forearms.
    • Look at your hands, including between your fingers and under your fingernails.
    • Look at the front, back, and sides of your legs.
    • Sit down and examine your feet, checking the soles and the spaces between the toes. Also check the nail beds of each toe.
    • Check your back, buttocks, and genitals with the hand mirror.
    • Part your hair and examine your scalp. Use a comb along with a hand mirror to help you see better. It may also help to use a blow dryer to move your hair as you look.

    If you are getting screened by a dermatologist or other health care provider, it may include the follow steps:

    The exam should take 10-15 minutes.

    Read Also: Does Melanoma Metastasize To The Brain

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    Is Cancer Causing The Itching

    Itching related to cancer is sometimes identical to itching related to skin conditions or other benign causes, but there are some characteristics that may differ.

    Signs of cancer-related itching may include:

    • Itching in response to water, which is called aquagenic pruritus
    • Lack of any rash or hives
    • The presence of other symptoms such as a yellowish discoloration of the skin , and the B symptoms, which are body-wide symptoms of lymphoma including fever, weight loss, and drenching night sweats

    In addition, itching associated with cancer may feel the worst on the lower legs and chest and may be associated with a burning sensation.

    Carcinogenic Agents And Groups Of Agents

    40 Acetaldehyde

    42 Aristolochic acids and plants containing them

    43 Arsenic and arsenic compounds

    44 Asbestos

    69 Ethanol in alcoholic beverages

    70 Erionite

    72 Etoposide alone and in combination with cisplatin and bleomycin

    73 Formaldehyde

    75 Helicobacter pylori

    76 Hepatitis B virus

    77 Hepatitis C virus

    78 Herbal remedies containing plant species of the genus Aristolochia

    79 Human immunodeficiency virus type 1

    80 Human papillomavirus type 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 66

    81 Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-I

    82 Melphalan

    83 Methoxsalen plus ultraviolet A-radiation

    84 4,4-methylene-bis

    85 MOPP and other combined chemotherapy including alkylating agents

    86 Mustard gas

    87 2-Naphthylamine

    96 Plutonium-239 and its decay products , as aerosols

    97 Radioiodines, short-lived isotopes, including iodine-131, from atomic reactor accidents and nuclear weapons detonation

    98 Radionuclides, -particle-emitting, internally deposited

    99 Radionuclides, -particle-emitting, internally deposited

    100 Radium-224 and its decay products

    101 Radium-226 and its decay products

    102 Radium-228 and its decay products

    103 Radon-222 and its decay products

    104 Schistosoma haematobium

    105 Silica, crystalline

    106 Solar radiation

    107 Talc containing asbestiform fibres

    108 Tamoxifen

    Also Check: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3 Survival Rate

    Skin Cancer Can Happen To Anyone

    One myth about skin cancer is that it is a disease that afflicts only people with light-colored skin.

    It can happen to anyone, regardless of skin color, said Dr. Peebles. While white people have higher rates of melanoma compared to other races or ethnicities, for instance, the annual incidence rate of melanoma is still five per 100,000 in Hispanics, and one per 100,000 among Black people.

    Skin cancer in skin of color is often diagnosed in later stages when its more difficult to treat, Dr. Peebles added, noting that individuals of color are less likely than their white counterparts to survive melanoma and are also more prone to skin cancer in areas not commonly exposed to the sun, including the palms, soles, groin area, inside the mouth and under the nails.

    Also, when were thinking of some different health disparities, there have been several studies showing that there may be an increased risk of skin cancer in some sexual minority men, said Dr. Peebles. We think that has a lot to do with disproportionate indoor tanning behaviors in that population, but theres still much more to learn on that topic.

    What Are The Signs Of Skin Cancer

    Most melanomas grow as new spots, not from existing moles

    The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on your skin, typically a new growth, or a change in an existing growth or mole. The signs and symptoms of common and less common types of skin cancers are described below.

    Basal cell carcinoma

    Basal cell cancer is most commonly seen on sun-exposed areas of skin including your hands, face, arms, legs, ears, mouths, and even bald spots on the top of your head. Basal cell cancer is the most common type of skin cancer in the world. In most people, its slow growing, usually doesnt spread to other parts of the body and is not life-threatening.

    Signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include:

    • A small, smooth, pearly or waxy bump on the face, ears, and neck.
    • A flat, pink/red- or brown-colored lesion on the trunk or arms and legs.
    • Areas on the skin that look like scars.
    • Sores that look crusty, have a depression in the middle or bleed often.

    Squamous cell carcinoma

    Squamous cell cancer is most commonly seen on sun-exposed areas of skin including your hands, face, arms, legs, ears, mouths, and even bald spots on the top of your head. This skin cancer can also form in areas such as mucus membranes and genitals.

    Signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include:

    • A firm pink or red nodule.
    • A rough, scaly lesion that might itch, bleed and become crusty.

    Melanoma

    Signs and symptoms of melanoma include:

    • A brown-pigmented patch or bump.
    • A mole that changes in color, size or that bleeds.

    Also Check: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Prognosis

    How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed And Treated

    Skin cancers are usually diagnosed by taking a biopsy from the suspected area. In the case of melanoma, the doctor might also check if there has been any spread to the lymph nodes.

    Treatment for both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer mainly consists of surgery. Surgery is usually curative for non-melanoma skin cancer and can be successful in melanoma skin cancer if found early enough. In the case of advanced melanoma skin cancer, additional treatment might be given, including drugs that target specific genetic changes.

    If you suspect you might have skin cancer or have found any changes to your skin, please contact your GP as soon as possible to get it checked out.

    Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Common In Sun

    Squamous cell carcinoma, also called squamous cell cancer, is the second most common type of skin cancer. It accounts for about 20 percent of cases.

    This type of cancer starts in flat cells in the outer part of the epidermis. It commonly crops up on sun-exposed areas, such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and hands. It can also develop on scars or chronic sores.

    Squamous cell carcinomas may develop from precancerous skin spots, known as actinic keratosis .

    These cancers might look like:

    • A firm, red bump
    • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface
    • A sore that heals and then reopens

    People with lighter skin are more at risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma, but the skin cancer can also affect those with darker skin.

    Other risk factors include:

    • Having light eyes, blond or red hair, or freckles
    • Being exposed to the sun or tanning beds
    • Having a history of skin cancer
    • Having a history of sunburns
    • Having a weakened immune system
    • Having the genetic disorder xeroderma pigmentosum

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    What Skin Cancer Looks Like

    Skin cancer appears on the body in many different ways. It can look like a:

    • Changing mole or mole that looks different from your others

    • Dome-shaped growth

    • Non-healing sore or sore that heals and returns

    • Brown or black streak under a nail

    It can also show up in other ways.

    To find skin cancer on your body, you dont have to remember a long list. Dermatologists sum it up this way. Its time to see a dermatologist if you notice a spot on your skin that:

    • Differs from the others

    • Itches

    • Bleeds

    To make it easy for you to check your skin, the AAD created the Body Mole Map. Youll find everything you need to know on a single page. Illustrations show you how to examine your skin and what to look for. Theres even place to record what your spots look like. Youll find this page, which you can print, at Body Mole Map.

    Causes Of Skin Cancer

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    Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Anyone can be at risk of developing skin cancer, though the risk increases as you get older.

    The majority of skin cancers in Australia are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight.

    Some factors that increase your risk of skin cancer include:

    • sunburn

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    Exposure To Sun Over Time

    Because we are living longer, we are exposed to more sun during our lifetime. This means skin cancer is more common than it used to be. Skin cancer is more common in people over the age of 40 and becomes more common with age. But the number of younger people developing skin cancer is also rising.

    People who work outdoors for example, farm workers, builders and gardeners have a greater risk. This is because they are exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

    Does Sunlight Cause Skin Cancer

    There is evidence that sunlight causes skin cancer. Skin cancer can be treated and cured without serious consequences. However, in some cases the condition can be life-threatening if not diagnosed in time.

    Skin cancer is an occupational concern for people who work under the sun. The risk however, may be reduced through awareness of the problem, and by taking measures to prevent exposure to sunlight.

    Also Check: What Does Stage 3b Melanoma Mean

    How Can You Help Prevent Skin Cancer

    One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to harmful light. The AAD advises that you stay away from tanning beds and take necessary measures to protect yourself from sunlight.

    Routine check-ups and self-awareness also play a significant role in prevention and detection. Try to look out for warning signs such as changes in size, shape, or color of a mole, the appearance of a new growth, or a sore that will not heal.

    If you notice any of the above, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine if there has been any development of cancer.

    If cancer is found, it can often be treated with Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is a procedure that removes layers of cancerous skin in stages to prevent the unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are used to restore the appearance of the skin.

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