Disease Prevention Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can kill; many people overlook this fact and are lax about getting the proper diagnosis or treatment when they notice one of the many symptoms. Skin cancer is deadly if it is untreated and it can cause serious disfigurement.When it comes to disease prevention skin cancer needs to be taken seriously.

There is not just one kind of skin cancer, there are three major categories as well as some less common types. In order to protect yourself, you need to know what you are up against. It is not only fair skinned people who get skin cancer, anyone can get it and everyone should take the necessary preventive measures.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer that occurs most often. It will affect over one million Americans this year alone. There was a time when the people most affected by this type of cancer were mostly older people but the average age has been steadily decreasing over the last few years.

While anyone can get basal cell carcinoma, the most likely candidates are people with very fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue, gray or green eyes. You increase your risk exponentially by the amount of sun exposure and damage you have incurred. Getting a severe burn or even a tan is not something that should be encouraged, and since much of the damage is done during childhood, everyone needs to protect their children from over exposure to the sun.

Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal and does not usually metastasize, however each case is different and some are much more aggressive than others and can lead to disfigurement if not caught in the early stages.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is not as common as basal cell carcinoma but approximately 250,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year. It is five times more common in men than in woman and it affects the upper layers of the skin. Men who work outdoors are particularly susceptible as are the fair skinned, light eyed blonds and red heads that are prone to basal cell carcinoma.

This is not usually a cancer of the young, it most often hits between 50 and 70 years of age. This is also the most common skin cancer that affects African-Americans.


Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is estimated that more than 8,000 people will die this year from melanoma. It is more common in men than in woman and this is one skin cancer in which heredity may be a factor.

If you have a close relative who has had a melanoma, it is more likely that you are also at risk. Melanoma is most common in people who already have skin moles or other skin aliments. There are symptoms, melanoma isn’t a symptomless illness.

Be on the lookout for any changes in your moles, bleeding, change of color or shape or soreness. These are all potential warning signs. If you are at high risk, it is important that you make a skin check-up by a dermatologist part of your yearly physical exam.

These are the three major forms of skin cancer. If you have been exposed to the sun, use a tanning bed, have a history of skin ailments or a family history of melanoma, don’t place yourself in danger,  have your skin checked regularly.

Photo credit: Pixabay Efraimstochter /



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