A typical reaction of skin towards sunlight is producing Melanin, i.e. the skin pigment. When cancer develops in the skin’s pigment cell, it called Melanoma. It is one of the most severe types of cancer and develops swiftly if left untended. Another form of skin cancer is Non-melanoma cancer; which is far less fatal and much more treatable.
If it is kept untreated, skin cancer can spread to the lower layer of the skin or the dermis and enter the bloodstream. This also can cause cancer in other parts of the body, where the blood flows. Incidentally, Australia has the highest number of people who have skin cancer.
According to statistics, Melanoma claims one life every five hours in Australia. It is the third common cancer in people living in Australia. Inhabitants from the age of 15-39 years old are most reported to have this cancer. Furthermore, there are 400,000 cases of non-melanoma cancer reported every year in Australia.
Difference between Non-melanoma and melanoma cancer:
Non-melanoma cancer is usually formed on the skin in the head, neck, face and hand region. It is divided in Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is caused in the parts of the skin that are directly exposed to sunlight. It generally doesn’t spread to any other parts of the body.
- Squamous cell carcinoma can occur even occur in the parts of the skin which aren’t exposed to the sunlight. This type of non-melanoma cancer can spread to the lymph and organs in the body.
- Non-melanoma cancer is usually not life-threatening.
- Melanoma cancer is life-threatening and is formed in the skin pigments.
- It is life-threatening as it quickly spreads to other organs of the body if left untreated.
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
The first thing that one should keep in mind is that a person should be aware of any abnormal/ suspicious developments on the skin. They should immediately report it to a dermatologist. That is the safest way to protect oneself from such types of deadly cancers. There are various types of diagnosis used to determine the type of skin cancer:
- Examination: The doctors can physically examine any suspicious-looking mole or pigmentation. Sometimes, the skin inside the mouth or nose is also examined. A medical aid like dermoscopy is also used to diagnose skin cancer. Dermascope is just a magnifying glass for the skin.
- Biopsy: The doctor will numb the skin around a suspected area and use a scalpel to extract some part of the skin to take samples of the mole or tissues. This sample is used to diagnose skin cancer further.
- Pathology: The sample taken through biopsy is observed under the microscope for further investigation and diagnosis.
Visit the website to know more about Melanoma and non-melanoma cancer.
Causes of Melanoma:
- Prolonged exposure to harmful rays of the sunlight called the Ultraviolet radiation is the leading cause of cancer.
- People living near the equator are more prone to Melanoma.
- Melanoma or any cancer can be caused because of genetics.
- Untreated sunburn and tanning can cause the development of Melanoma.
Skin Cancer claims many lives every year in Australia. The best way to protect oneself and their family is, being aware of the symptoms of Skin Cancer. Applying sunscreen and avoiding sunlight in the middle of the day is the first defense against this deadly variant of cancer disease. Another activity to cut of the lifestyle would be the fad of tan bed and lamps; since these only expose the skin to harmful radiations. Additionally, always remember, prevention is better than cure.