Characteristics of skin cancer

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What is skin cancer?

Characteristics of skin cancer

people at the beach
Overexposure to the sun is mainly responsible for the appearance of skin cancer

The skin is the largest organ in our body. It wraps and protects us against external aggressions, in addition to having its own and necessary functions such as the production of vitamin D, regulating body temperature, it has melanin that protects us from UVA rays, etc.

Our skin is made up of three layers, which from outside to inside are called: epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Melanin resides in the first of these, also called the external surface of epithelial layer, precisely the basal layer of the epidermis. This pigment gives us the “brown” color when we sunbathe.

But what happens if we subject it to too much aggression and attack, causing it too much damage repeatedly and continuously? In that case, like it happens in any of the other organs, it becomes ill, it breaks, … if it does not receive adequate protection and care.

What is skin cancer?

Our skin is made up of cells. When one of these structural cells reproduces with some error or difference out of the ordinary way of  reproduction and proliferates in an uncontrolled way, it can result in a tumor.

This tumor, in turn, can be benign or malignant. In the case of being malignant it is called cancer.

Tumors have the innate capacity to expand (to a lesser or greater extent, depending on the aggressiveness of the type of cancer) but are not controlled, which is why a skin cancer can expand and spread in such a way that they end up metastasizing. in other organs of our body.

Types of skin cancer

There are several types of skin cancer depending on the cells that are affected. They can be divided into two types, such as “non-melanomas” and melanomas, or three, if we look at the location they appear, we will subdivide the group of non-melanomas into two. In short, those that have special relevance are basal carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Causes of skin cancer

The two main factors of skin factors are genetic predisposition and excessive exposure to UVA radiation.

This does not mean that they are the only factors that cause cancer at the cutaneous level, that is, cancer is a chronic disease that can develop from genetic factors (abnormalities in cell replication) but environmental factors such as excessive UVA radiation also intervene, repeated exposure to X-rays or gamma rays, among many others.

Skin cancer symptoms

  • Symptoms according to the type of exposure: The two types of non-melanoma skin cancer are a consequence of prolonged solar radiation and mainly affect areas exposed to the sun such as the skin of the face, followed by the ears, the back of the hands, shoulders and arms.

In contrast, melanoma cases are the result of a combination of factors like environmental and genetic factors. Intermittent or discontinuous, as well as very intense solar exposure,  is also implicated in melanomas which can be expressed in four different types.

  • Risk factors: Depending on the physical characteristics of each person, there are more predisposed people (with fairer skin, blonde or copper hair, lighter eyes and more large freckles), and other less predisposed people (with darker skin, darker hair, dark eyes, few freckles and in their case they are very small).

Differences between spots, freckles and moles

Spots on the skin are usually from birth or due to the mark of a wound. When we get a burn or any type of wound on our skin, it will heal and heal little by little.

If instead of keeping it away from the sun with a high sun protection factor sun cream (minimum spf 50), we expose it to it, as the skin that is regenerating  is more delicate, we will cause the appearance of a stain that  rarely disappears with the passage of time, but it becomes darker, and it will accompany us for life.

Unlike freckles, which are a small genetic stain-like genetic abnormality of the skin that can accentuate and darken in color when in contact with the sun, moles are a significant concentration of melanin pigmentation, they are usually of much larger than freckles, darker, most have more or less relief and even some hairs. They are usually benign, although it is recommended to have them specially monitored, since they could change and be malignant.

More information on cancer.

Editorial
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 July, 2020

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