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World Cancer Day – Skin Cancer Information

Cancer is the leading cause of death around the world. Every year, approximately 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 7.6 million of them will die from the disease.

For World Cancer Day in 2017, individuals and organizations are adopting the “We can. I can” approach to cancer. This means that organizations and individuals will both do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

What Organizations Can Do

Organizations have the power to positively impact their members and the communities they serve. They are encouraged to:

Inspire action. By working together, organizations can call on governments and leaders to to push for actions that will reduce premature deaths, improve quality of life and increase survival rates. 

Promote knowledge. Knowledge is power! By equipping the general community with appropriate knowledge of cancer prevention, causes and general lifestyle improvements, individuals will be more likely to make healthy choices.

Work together. The global cancer burden can be eased when government entities, civil groups and the private sector all work together by adopting common goals to prevent cancer. 

Create healthy schools & workplaces. Creating environments that encourage healthy behaviors will help to reduce the cancer rate over the long-term.

What You Can Do as an Individual

Make healthy lifestyle choices. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risk of cancer. Simple choices include: quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet and becoming more physically active. 

Understand that early detection saves lives. Be sure to make regular visits to your doctor. They will perform tests and exams that could find abnormalities early in their development. In almost all cases, timely treatment greatly impacts cancer survival rates. 

Ask for / provide support. For those with cancer, never be afraid to ask for emotional and physical support. If your loved one is living with cancer, try to be available to meet their needs. A positive support structure can make all of the difference in the world when coping with the disease. 

Skin Cancer

skin cancer signsOne in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells and it develops in three forms: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form.

Most skin cancer develops due to exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds, but lifestyle choices like alcohol consumption, cigarettes smoking and poor diet can also have an effect. The single most powerful tool against skin cancer is the use of sun screen.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

Typically occurring in sun-exposed areas of the skin, basal cell carcinomas tend to appear as:

  • A waxy bump.
  • A flat scar-like lesion.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

Squamous cell carcinoma occurs on sun exposed areas of the skin, but is also more likely to develop on those with darker skin in areas that aren’t exposed to the sun. it may appear as:

  • A firm, red bump.
  • A flat lesion with a crusted surface.

Melanoma Symptoms

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, even areas where exposure to the sun is limited. Anyone can develop melanoma, but people with darker skin tones are more likely to develop melanoma in the palm, fingernails or toenails. Signs of melanoma can include

  • A large brown spot with dark speckles.
  • A mole that changes in shape and bleeds.
  • A small lesion that has a white, red, blue or black border.

Skin Cancer Detection

Each month, do a head-to-toe examination of your skin to determine if there are any changes, bumps, marks, or discoloration. If you find something that is concerning, make an appointment with your dermatologist right away.

A dermatologist will visually inspect your skin for the signs of skin cancer listed above. If any suspicious areas of skin are found, a sample will be taken for testing to determine if the tissue is cancerous, and if so, what type of cancer it is.