Mens Skin Care Healthy Skin Cancer

Spending a beautiful day outdoors and getting a glowing tan can feel good now, but in the long term, tanning regularly puts you at a higher risk for developing skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Types

According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States, making it one of the most prevalent types of cancer. There are three major skin cancer types:

  • Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma usually doesn’t spread to other parts of the body.
  • Melanoma: Malignant melanoma is aggressive and usually spreads to other parts of the body, or “metastasizes.” Melanoma can be fatal if it isn’t caught early.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common of skin cancer types, squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body.

Stages of Melanoma - Skin Cancer Stages

Skin Cancer Symptoms

It’s important to educate yourself about skin cancer symptoms; if caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable, but it can be fatal once it spreads.

Skin cancer starts as a precancerous lesion. The following are changes that occur in the skin and could be cancer symptoms:

  • Actinic keratosis: Scaly, rough or red skin that could turn in to squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Nevus: A mole that could turn in to melanoma is called a nevus. It’s common to have moles, and most don’t show skin cancer signs. However, you should be on alert if a mole on your skin changes in color, shape or size.

Some doctors use the guidelines “ABCDE” to identify a malignant melanoma. Here are some common skin cancer signs:

  • Asymmetry: A lesion has one side that looks different than the other, and is classified as “asymmetrical.”
  • Border irregularity: The margin around the mole is irregular.
  • Color: Healthy moles are generally uniform in color; cancerous moles can be different colors (such as red, blue and tan) and may appear mottled.
  • Diameter: A cancerous lesion is usually bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolution: Changing appearance over time may point to skin cancer.

Protect Yourself Against Skin Cancer

The best protection against skin cancer is to use adequate sun protection, limit your time in the sun and educate yourself about skin cancer symptoms:

  • See a dermatologist: You should have a skin cancer check with your dermatologist each year, and frequently check yourself for skin cancer signs.
  • Stay out of the sun: Keep out of the sun, especially during the middle of the day, when it’s at its strongest.
  • Stop using a tanning booth: Tanning in a booth can increase your risk of skin cancer by up to 75 percent, according to a 2009 study conducted by French searchers.
  • Wear protective clothing: If you have to be outside, take steps to guard your body from the sun. Wearing long sleeves or a hat is a good way to do this.
  • Wear sunscreen: You should apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 a half hour before going out in the sun. Reapply often.

A dermatologist isn’t the only one who can spot skin cancer signs. Check your body often, and have someone check the places you can’t see, like your back, for visible skin cancer signs. It’s important to catch possible lesions early for the best possible treatment options.

Resources

American Cancer Society Staff. (2009). Skin cancer facts. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from the American Cancer Society Web site: www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/ped_7_1_What_You_Need_To_Know_About_Skin_Cancer.asp.

Associated Press Staff. (2009). Study: Tanning beds as deadly as arsenic. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from the MSNBC Web site: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32187497/ns/health-cancer/.

Spickler, A. PhD. (2002). Basal cell carcinoma. Retrieved March 22, 20102, from the AARP Web site: http://healthtools.aarp.org/galecontent/basal-cell-carcinoma