An illness that affects an individual’s skin cells, skin cancer is the byproduct of skin cell damage. This can be a result of ultraviolet radiation (UV) from over-exposure to the sun, the excessive use of tanning salons, and other factors. As such, skin cancer prompts the growth of genetic defects or mutations that can cause skin cells to rapidly produce, and form malignant tumors.
Some risk factors of skin cancer include: family history; an increased amount of moles; a skin type that is sensitive to burning and UV rays; individuals who have suffered through many past sunburns or have gotten blisters as a result of sun burns; spending excessive amounts of time outdoors, unprotected; an active indoor or outdoor tanner; or someone who has spent their career, working outdoors. While these factors aren’t a sure fire indication you will get skin cancer, they do increase an individual’s chance of contracting the illness.
According to SkinCancer.org, this type of cancer is the most common in America, with an estimated one in five individuals across the nation at risk of developing the illness in their lifetime. In fact, more new skin cancer cases are diagnosed each year, then prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancers combined.
So, we know the risk factors, but what should an individual look out for in terms of symptoms? Well, below are the top ten signs of skin cancer.
Melanin cells that form into a malignant tumor (associated with skin cancer) are referred to as melanoma; and with this condition, an individual can either notice a new mole, or an existing mole changing its shape or getting larger. There is something known as the ABCDE factors of assessing whether or not a mole can be melanoma, and therefore skin cancer. The ‘A’ which refers to asymmetry, is the first sign of this. Does the mole (or now larger mole) have an asymmetric shape, meaning that if you drew a line down the center of it, the two sides would not be the same? If so, this could be a sign of skin cancer.