Skin cancer is a malignant illness resulting from the abnormal division of skin cells in the human body. It is the most common of all cancers and if left untreated, it can result in death or disfigurement. Approximately 40 percent of the world’s population will eventually become afflicted with this disease and it accounts for nearly half of all cancers in North America. Although this condition can be idiopathic in nature, meaning its cause is unknown, most experts believe that over 80 percent of all skin cancers occur from over exposure to the sun. Approximately two million individuals are diagnosed with cancerous skin legions each year.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Various kinds of skin cancer exist, but the most common–and also the most curable–is basal cell carcinoma. In most cases, this variety remains localized in the area where it first appeared and rarely spreads. It can cause skin damage at its initial site, but reoccurrence after surgical removal is rare. The primary symptom of a basal cell legion is a pattern of bleeding and scabbing that may continue over the course of weeks, months, or even years. If left untreated, this pattern will not stop on its own, which is typically what prompts most individuals to pursue medical evaluation.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Unlike basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell legions often spread to other areas. Numerous individuals mistake this type of malignancy for a rash because of its red, bumpy appearance. Cancer of this kind is highly curable if an early diagnosis is made: however, if its presence is ignored, the patient’s chances for complete recovery substantially decrease.
The deadliest type of all skin cancers is Melanoma. The latter typically spreads to surrounding tissues at a fast rate. If the malignancy reaches the lymph glands of the patient, the mortality rate climbs to nearly 100 percent. In the United States, an estimated 100,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in 2013, with the highest occurrence found among fair skinned individuals and those with red hair and blue eyes.
Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are essential for patients suffering from all types of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important for all individuals to take time to educate themselves regarding the recognition and prevention of cancerous skin legions. Simple measures such as avoiding excessive sun exposure, and consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants greatly reduce one’s chances of developing the disease. If a suspicious skin legion is discovered, it should be evaluated immediately by a dermatologist or other qualified medical professional.