A Closer Look at the Different Types of Skin Cancer Prevalent in the US

A Closer Look at the Different Types of Skin Cancer Prevalent in the US

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists Association (AADA), carcinoma of the skin cells is the most common form of cancer occurring in Americans. AAD research estimated that on a daily basis, about 9,500 U.S. residents are diagnosed with skin cancer. Approximately 3 million people in America have non-melanoma carcinoma, while around 1 million Americans suffer from melanoma, the rare but more serious from of skin cancer.

Over exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet or UV radiation is the most common cause of skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives advice for people in North America to avoid exposure to the sun between 10:00 in the morning up to 4:00 in the afternoon. Primarily because the hours in between are the period when the sun’s radiation is the strongest even during cloudy or snowy days.

Moreover, it would be best to consult with a dermatologist about the appropriate sunscreen to use, since different types of skin require different levels of sun protection factor (SPF). Most dermatology clinics today include sunscreens or sun creams with different SPF in their line of private label products, since not all patients tend to experience sunburn at the same rate as others.

Three Types of Skin Cancer

There are three types of skin cancer, two of them, namely basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are classified as the non-melanoma type. The melanoma type on the other hand, refers to cancer cells that disrupt the function of the melanocytes, the mature melanin-producing, melanoma cells.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

The basal cells of the skin are the small round cells forming the innermost layer of the epidermis. These cells continuously divide to grow new cells, whilst pushing the older cells toward the skin surface. The mature basal cells become the outer membrane of the epidermis, to normally die and eventually be shed off.

However, on surface skin areas that have been frequently sunburned or exposed to the sun, basal cells already on the surface do not shed off. Instead, they form a pearly white, brown or glossy black bump with a raised border. The bump will continue to amass cells that are being pushed to the surface. The translucent bump can become a lesion or sore that does not heal that later develops into a cancerous tumor

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cells are the fish scale-like cells that make up the tissues on the surface of the skin and in the linings of the respiratory tracts, digestive tracts and other hollow body organs. Squamous cell carcinoma usually occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun or radiation produced by tanning lamps or beds.

Although squamous cell carcinoma is not life-threatening, it is capable of spreading to other parts of the body where squamous cells are found. If it does spread, the incidence can cause serious complications on the health of the afflicted individual.

Melanoma Cell Carcinoma

Melanoma is a skin cancer that develops when the melanin producing melanocytes grow out of control.Melanin is the substance that gives the tan or brown color to the skin to provide protection to the inner or deeper layers of the epidermis against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.

Melanoma cell carcinomas can take place on any skin surface but are more likely to develop on the neck and face.
Melanoma is the less common of type of skin cancer but is regarded as the more dangerous form of carcinoma as can spread quickly to other skin areas if not detected and treated early.

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