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Skin Cancer: Signs and Prevention Tips

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells on skin areas most exposed to the sun, including your face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs. While it primarily affects exposed skin, Cypress skin cancer can also occur on well-covered body areas, including your palms or genital area. Skin cancer takes various forms, but the most common types include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the deadliest form.

Signs of the common forms of skin cancer

The signs of skin cancer vary between the different types. Basal cell carcinoma, which begins in the basal cells in the epidermis, may appear as a pearly or way bump or a brown scar-like lesion. It may also occur as a bleeding or scabbing sore that come and goes. Basal cell carcinoma is most likely to affect areas most exposed to the sun, including your face and neck.

Like most forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma occurs in sun-exposed body areas, including your face and hands. However, people with darker skin are more likely to develop this form of cancer in well-covered areas. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as a firm, tiny red bump or a flat lesion with a crusted surface.

Melanoma can affect normal skin or develop on an existing mole that becomes cancerous. It primarily affects the face and trunk in men, but women are more likely to develop this form of skin cancer on the lower legs. However, melanoma can also occur in areas of your skin that you don’t often expose to the sun. This type of skin cancer can affect anyone regardless of skin tone. But if you have darker skin, this disease will likely occur on your palms, soles, or under your fingernails or toenails.

Melanoma can appear as a mole that bleeds or changes color, size, or texture. It may also be a painful lesion that itches or a large brownish spot with dark speckles. Melanoma can also appear as dark lesions on your fingertips, palms, toes, or soles.

How can I prevent skin cancer?

Although skin cancer is common, there are various steps you can take to prevent most skin cancers. It is best to protect your skin from UV rays all year, not just during summer. Ultraviolet rays can reach your skin even during cloudy days, reflecting off surfaces like water, snow, sand, and cement.

There are several ways to protect your skin from the sun when the UV index is three or higher. For instance, you can stay in the shade or wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. Remember to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher every time you leave the house; do so whether it is sunny or cloudy. You can also wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your head, face, and neck from the sun. Another way to protect your skin is wearing sunglasses blocking harmful ultraviolet rays.

You also want to avoid tanning beds since they operate with UV light, damaging your skin and potentially causing cancer.

If you notice any differences in your skin, visit your doctor at Magnolia Dermatology for a diagnosis to determine the cause.

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