Do you know, which of your organs is the largest one? Though many of us don't consider the skin as a separate organ, it is recognized to be the biggest one in your body.
It generally consists of two main parts: the deep layer called derm and the outer stratum, also known as epidermis. This outer coating comprises of three kinds of cells: the squamous cells (skin's outward lining), the basal cells (those that create new skin cells) and melanocytes (the cells, which contain pigment melanin and give specific color to our skin).
Skin cancer is the leading type of malignancy among Americans.
In the majority of cases, skin cancer tends to grow slowly and is unlikely to spread to other body areas, with exception of melanoma.
Scientists are not sure, why skin cancer exactly occurs. It was found that those, who have fair skin, sunburns and moles are more predisposed to skin malignancy development.
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Excessive exposure to sun rays, tanning lamps and other sources of ultraviolet radiation can extremely boost your hazards of skin cancer, especially of melanoma.
Family history of malignancy, weak immune system and exposure to harmful substances like arsenic also play very important role in skin cancer development.
Depending on the primary-affected cells, physicians discern basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Besides these rather common types of skin malignancy, there are also some rare cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma etc.
The problem is also that skin cancer can manifest variously in different people.
Basal cell carcinoma ranks first in skin neoplasm types. It can become apparent in not healing sores or itchy reddish patches, which can often bleed and crust. It's not uncommon for basal cell carcinoma to appear as shiny waxy pink or white lump with visible translucent blood vessels.
This kind of skin cancer prefers face and neck, as these parts of your body usually get the largest amounts of UV radiation.
Squamous cell carcinoma looks like scaly red spots with uneven edges. Sometimes it can manifest in tender red nodule with crusty surface and notch in its middle. It's also more likely to affect face, ears and arms, which are often exposed to sun rays.
Melanoma is the least common, but the most hazardous type of skin cancer.
In women it usually starts on the lower extremities. Melanoma can also appear on other body areas, including face, neck, chest and back.
Melanoma is frequently confused with benign moles. Use this ABCDE method to detect this dangerous skin cancer on early stages.
Asymmetry – cancerous spots have asymmetrical sides, which don't look similar.
Border – in contrast to non-malignant moles, melanoma has uneven, ragged or blurred edges.
Color – melanoma may have brown, pink, white or even dark-blue color.
Diameter – spots, which are larger than 6mm in diameter, should be examined by medical specialist, as they often consist of malignant cells.
Evolving – melanoma has ability to change its size, shape and shade with time. That's why it is important to keep an eye on your moles and freckles.
Consult with your doctor, if you've suspected skin cancer in yourself or in beloved one.
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