Where Does Skin Cancer Develop
Skin cancer is most commonly seen in sun-exposed areas of your skin your face , ears, neck, arms, chest, upper back, hands and legs. However, it can also develop in less sun-exposed and more hidden areas of skin, including between your toes, under your fingernails, on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet and in your genital area.
Varying Attitudes Regarding Skin Cancer
Different understandings of skin cancer and risk in minority groups may contribute to the later, more aggressive, diagnoses. For example, in one Florida-based study, researchers found that:
- Only a quarter of minorities at a health clinic had heard of skin cancer.
- About 20 percent thought their darker skin meant they could not get skin cancer.
- Just under half thought it was unlikely or very unlikely to get skin cancer.
- Around 60 percent had never done a self-skin check and only about 20 percent had ever seen a dermatologist.4
Although minorities are at a lower risk of skin cancer, it is still possible. Results like these show the importance of monitoring for signs of skin cancer to prevent delays in diagnosis. Education and awareness of skin cancer across all skin types may be key to reducing disparities.
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Different Types Of Cancer Start In The Skin
Skin cancer may form in basal cells or squamous cells. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer. They are also called nonmelanoma skin cancer. Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that sometimes becomes squamous cell carcinoma.
This summary is about basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, and actinic keratosis. See the following PDQ summaries for information on melanoma and other kinds of cancer that affect the skin:
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Questions to ask your dermatologist may include:
- What type of skin cancer do I have?
- What stage is my skin cancer?
- What tests will I need?
- Whats the best treatment for my skin cancer?
- What are the side effects of that treatment?
- What are the potential complications of this cancer and the treatment for it?
- What outcome can I expect?
- Do I have an increased risk of additional skin cancers?
- How often should I be seen for follow-up checkups?
Q: What Other Skin Cancer Precautions Do You Recommend To Patients Of Color
I constantly stress the importance of monthly self-examinations of the skin that include not just sun-exposed areas but also the soles of the feet, the palms, the toenail and fingernail beds and also the genital areas places that one might not even think to look. Thats really where the biggest learning gap is. And everyone should get a full-body examination from a dermatologist once a year or any time they see something unusual, such as a new or changing growth or mole or, particularly in skin of color, a sore that doesnt heal. Unfortunately, most people of color are not doing this.
However, Ive observed growing awareness of the dangers of skin cancer among populations of color. We have a long way to go, but the interest is there. I think in the next phase were going to see larger-scale change that results in actual reduction of some of the disparities. Im very optimistic about the future. Interview by Lorraine Glennon
About the Expert:
Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH, is chair of the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai St. Lukes and Mount Sinai West in New York City. He is also professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As director of the Skin of Color Center in New York City, he is actively involved in advancing patient care, research and education pertaining to dermatologic disorders prevalent in ethnic skin.
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Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin depends mostly on the following:
- Stage of the cancer.
- Whether the patient is immunosuppressed.
- Whether the patient uses tobacco.
- The patient’s general health.
Treatment options for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin depend on the following:
- The type of cancer.
- The stage of the cancer, for squamous cell carcinoma.
- The size of the tumor and what part of the body it affects.
- The patients general health.
What Does Skin Cancer Look Like
There are many different types of skin cancer . Each type looks different. Also, skin cancer in people with dark skin often looks different from skin cancer in people with fair skin. A change on the skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This may be any new growth on the skin, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in an old growth.
If you notice a change on your skin, see your doctor. Don’t wait until the change looks like the more advanced skin cancers in these photos.
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Uv Exposure And Overexposure
UV exposure stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin, often resulting in a tan or sunburn, both of which indicate overexposure and damage to the skin, skin cells, and DNA within those skin cells., The underlying biology of skin cancer risk is directly related to damage to the skin and its genetic material. Although all UV exposures can affect skin cancer risk, entirely avoiding UV rays from the sun is neither realistic nor advisable for most Americans. Spending time outdoors is associated with positive health benefits, such as increased levels of physical activity and improved mental health.-
How Does Skin Cancer Become A Life
You may wonder how cancer on the surface of your skin becomes a life-threatening cancer. It seems logical to think you could just scrape off the skin with the cancer cells or even remove the cancerous skin lesion with a minor skin surgery and thats all that would be needed. These techniques are successfully used if cancer is caught early.
But if skin cancer isnt caught early, something thats just on my skin can grow and spread beyond the immediate area. Cancer cells break away and travel through the bloodstream or lymph system. The cancer cells settle in other areas of your body and begin to grow and develop into new tumors. This travel and spread is called metastasis.
The type of cancer cell where cancer first started called primary cancer determines the type of cancer. For example, if malignant melanoma metastasized to the lungs, the cancer would still be called malignant melanoma. This is how that superficial skin cancer can turn into life-threatening cancer.
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It Was Estimated That In :
- 118,200 Canadian men would be diagnosed with cancer and 44,600 men would die from cancer.
- 110,900 Canadian women would be diagnosed with cancer and 40,000 women would die from cancer.
- On average, 628 Canadians would be diagnosed with cancer every day.
- On average, 232 Canadians would die from cancer every day.
- Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in Canada .
- These 4 cancers account for 46% of all new cancer cases.
- Prostate cancer accounts for one-fifth of all new cancer cases in men.
- Lung cancer accounts for 13% of all new cases of cancer.
- Breast cancer accounts for one-quarter of all new cancer cases in women
- Colorectal cancer accounts for 11% of all new cancer cases
The Skin And What It Does
The skin does several jobs including:
- protecting the inside of the body from damage
- helping to keep our body temperature more or less the same
- getting rid of some body waste products through sweat
- making vitamin D
The skin is made up of 2 main layers: the epidermis on the outside and the dermis beneath.
The thickness of the epidermis and the dermis varies depending on the part of the body the skin is covering. For example, the skin on the sole of your foot is quite thick, about 5mm. The skin on your eyelid is much thinner, only about 0.5mm.
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What Does It All Mean
Overall, these results suggest that there are differences in cancer development, understanding, and prognosis of skin cancer between racial and ethnic groups. The reasons for this are not well understood and may be related to a variety of different factors. Some of these may be related to genetics, environmental or work exposures, social factors, financial issues, lifestyle practices, diet, access to healthcare and helpful resources, and more.
This is such an important topic to talk about, as more aggressive cancers and high mortality rates can take a huge toll on quality of life. However, this information is only from a few studies, and much more research is needed to understand the factors at play. For the time being, studies like these can help call out the differences in general, and may help doctors better diagnose and treat people from all backgrounds.
Delay In Diagnosis And Treatment
Black people are more likely to receive a skin cancer diagnosis in a later stage of the disease than white people. also suggests Black people are more likely to face longer delays between diagnosis and treatment.
Researchers note several reasons for this, including:
- more difficulty accessing healthcare
- lower rates of health insurance coverage
- higher rates of skin cancer in non-sun-exposed areas, so it is less visible
- people not recognizing skin cancer symptoms
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Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented
Skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Making a part of your life, avoiding sunburn, and checking your skin regularly will help prevent further damage to your skin.
Protect your skin from UV radiation and help prevent skin cancer by:
- slipping on sun-protective clothing: cover your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body.
- slopping on sunscreen thats rated SPF 30+ or higher, broad-spectrum and water resistant.
- slapping on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- seeking shade under trees, umbrellas and buildings from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.
- sliding on sunglasses that wrap around your face to protect your eyes and surrounding skin.
- staying away from sun lamps, solariums or sunbeds, which emit dangerous levels of UV radiation.
UV radiation from the sun varies depending on time of day, season, where you live and cloud coverage. Protect your skin whenever UV Index levels are above 3. Use Cancer Council Australias free SunSmart app to check the UV Index for your area any time.
Most Australians will get enough vitamin D even with sun protection at UV level 3 or above. Babies and children should be protected from the sun, since they are particularly vulnerable to UV radiation harm.
While using fake tanning cream isnt harmful to your skin, it offers no protection from UV radiation. You still need to protect yourself from the sun.
Differences In Skin Cancer Appearance
The relationship between race, ethnicity, and skin cancer is complex. One of the main differences in its presentation occurs due to variations in skin color.
Skin tone has a significant influence on how skin cancer looks. People with lighter skin tones may develop growths different in color to the surrounding skin, making them more noticeable. However, in those with darker skin, cancerous growths may be skin-colored and therefore less noticeable.
This is true both across racial groups and within them. For example, a Black person with lighter skin may notice a dark-colored growth more easily than a Black person with highly pigmented skin.
Another factor for people to consider is a potential difference in skin cancers location. In skin of color, melanoma is to appear in less obvious places, such as:
- palms of the hands
- black, pearly, and translucent skin growth
- moles that bleed or grow in size
A person should speak with a doctor as soon as possible about any growths with these characteristics.
White people appear to have a generally higher vulnerability to skin cancer than other groups. This is probably due to the lack of melanin in lighter skin, making it easier for UV light to cause damage.
However, a also highlights that a lack of diversity in trials and studies means that scientists may not accurately understand how common skin cancer is in skin of color.
Here are the different rates for specific types of cancer:
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Treatment And Clinical Trials:
- The 5-year relative survival rate from diagnosis for localized, early melanoma is over 98%, but only about 25% for melanoma that has spread to distant sites.
- Since 2007, 12 new FDA-approved melanoma therapies have been developed for treatment of the disease.
- 100% of treatments and medications currently available for melanoma were first rigorously tested in clinical trials.
- 1 in 4 clinical trials fail because they dont enroll enough patients lack of enrollment in clinical trials is one of the biggest obstacles to bringing new, potentially life-saving therapies to market.
- Of all clinical trial participants in the U.S., 80-90% are white.
- Almost half of all people who participate in a clinical trial do so to help advance science and the treatment of their condition.
- Today there are more than 400 melanoma-focused clinical trials currently recruiting patients.
- Only 15% of patients in North America have been asked to participate in a clinical research study.
- Over half of clinical trial participants would recommend participation to family and friends.
- Today, only 1 out of 20 cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial.
- About Melanoma
Interactive Statistics With Seer*explorer
With SEER*Explorer, you can
- Create custom graphs and tables
SEER*Explorer is an interactive website that provides easy access to a wide range of SEER cancer statistics. It provides detailed statistics for a cancer site by gender, race, calendar year, age, and for a selected number of cancer sites, by stage and histology.
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Skin Cancer: Facts Statistics And You
Skin cancer refers to any cancer that begins in your skin. It may develop on any part of your skin and can spread to nearby tissues and organs if the disease advances.
There are two main types of skin cancer:
- Keratinocyte cancer develops in skin cells called keratinocytes. It has two main subtypes, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma .
- Melanoma develops in skin melanocyte cells. Melanocytes are skin cells that generate skins brown pigment.
Other types of skin cancer include:
- Merkel cell carcinoma
most common form of cancer in the United States. More people receive skin cancer diagnoses each year in the United States than all other cancers combined, including breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer.
Each case of skin cancer is considered unique if a doctor believes its a separate cancer. A person may have multiple different types and cases of skin cancer.
Each year, more than 3 million Americans are affected by BCC or SCC, estimates the American Academy of Dermatology. Having one skin cancer diagnosis puts you at a for having another, too, but there are preventive measures you can take.
Here are the main types of skin cancer:
What Do We Know About The Causes And Heredity Of Skin Cancer
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, although artificial sources of UV radiation, such as sunlamps and tanning booths, also play a role. UV radiation can damage the DNA, or genetic information, in skin cells, creating “misspellings” in their genetic code and, as a result, alter the function of those cells.
Cancers generally are caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. With skin cancer, the environment plays a greater role, but individuals can be born with a genetic disposition toward or vulnerability to getting cancer. The risk is greatest for people who have light-colored skin that freckles easily – often those who also have red or blond hair and blue or light-colored eyes – although anyone can get skin cancer.
Skin cancer is related to lifetime exposure to UV radiation, therefore most skin cancers appear after age 50. However, the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age. People who live in areas that get high levels of UV radiation from the sun are more likely to get skin cancer. For example, the highest rates of skin cancer are found in South Africa and Australia, areas that receive high amounts of UV radiation.
About 10 percent of all patients with melanoma have family members who also have had the disease. Research suggests that a mutation in the CDKN2 gene on chromosome 9 plays a role in this form of melanoma. Studies have also implicated genes on chromosomes 1 and 12 in cases of familial melanoma.
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How Can I Find Skin Cancer Early
- Talk with your doctor if you see any changes on your skin that do not go away within one month.
- Check the skin on all surfaces of your body, even in your mouth.
- Watch for a new mole or other new growth on your skin.
- Check for changes in the appearance of an old growth on the skin or scar .
- Watch for a patch of skin that is a different color and becomes darker or changes color.
- Watch for a sore that does not heal it may bleed or form a crust.
- Check your nails for a dark band. Check with your doctor if you see changes, such as if the dark band begins to spread.
When skin cancer is found early, it can be treated more easily.
Why A Focus On Uv Radiation
Although genetic factors, such as being fair-skinned or having a family history of skin cancer, contribute to a person’s risk,- the most common types of skin cancer are also strongly associated with exposure to UV radiation.,- UV exposure is also the most preventable cause of skin cancer. This focuses on reducing UV exposure, with an emphasis on addressing excessive, avoidable, or unnecessary UV exposures and intentional exposure for the purpose of skin tanning .
This document focuses on primary prevention of skin cancer through reducing overexposure to UV, not on early detection or screening. The evidence on skin cancer screening is growing, and ongoing examinations of the evidence are important. Melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages are much more treatable than those diagnosed at later stages., It is important for the public to understand that anyone can get skin cancer and to know the signs, which can be found in and at . Information on screening is available in .
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