Symptoms and Risk Factors of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with an estimated 1.7 million new cases diagnosed each year. The incidence of Pittsboro skin cancer is increasing, and rates are highest among those over 65.

Skin cancer can occur in any part of the body but most commonly affect areas with a lot of sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. Other skin cancers that may be related to sun exposure include BCC (basal cell carcinoma) (SCC), squamous cell carcinoma, and MCC (melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma).

Skin cancers are generally divided into malignant and non-malignant types based on how they develop:

  • Malignant tumors grow quickly and invade surrounding tissues and organs. They are more likely to spread to other body parts than non-malignant tumors.
  • Non-malignant tumors don’t invade nearby tissue but may progress to cause problems if left untreated.

Below are the symptoms and risk factors for skin cancer.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

  1. A firm, red nodule that may be raised or flat, with a thickened border. The color and size of the nodule can vary, but it is usually more noticeable in summer when the skin is thinner.
  2. A rash that spreads, blisters, or lasts more than seven days. The rash may have no known cause but may appear suddenly, spread rapidly, and be accompanied by itching and pain, signs that it is probably an allergic reaction to something you’ve been exposed to, such as poison ivy, cosmetics, or medications.
  3. Sores on your skin include boils or blisters that don’t heal among others.

What are the risk factors for skin cancers?

Blond or red hair: A person with blond or red hair is more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This type of skin cancer is highly curable if detected early enough, but it can still cause disfigurement if left untreated.

Family history: One of the most critical risk factors for skin cancer is family history. If your parents or siblings have skin cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing it. You can also inherit certain genes that increase your chances of developing melanoma and other skin cancers.

Sun exposure: The sun causes damage to your skin by breaking down collagen, which helps keep your skin smooth and elastic over time. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun’s rays increases this collagen breakdown, leading to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Over time, UV exposure can also cause premature aging of skin cells and damage DNA in your cells, which may lead to various types of cancer. In addition to increasing your risk for melanoma, UV exposure also increases the risk for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Bowen disease, and actinic keratosis (AK).

Skin cancer is a common form of cancer caused by UV radiation or other factors. The most obvious sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin color. It may become darker, redder, or blotchy. You may notice a new growth on your skin or an existing mole that has changed in size, shape, or color. It is crucial to be aware of these symptoms and signs of skin cancer so that you can seek medical attention from Sanford Dermatology.

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