LivingWhich skin cancer is more aggressive?

Which skin cancer is more aggressive?

In the world there are around 1,000,000 cases of ” non-melanoma skin cancer ” that cause up to 65,000 deaths a year according to the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Every June 13, the European Day for the Prevention of Skin Cancer is celebrated. This year had special importance in early detection to prevent the appearance of cancer.

Its objective is to make the population aware of the importance of maintaining adequate sun exposure, avoiding the probability of developing skin cancer .

How does skin cancer present?

Skin cancer is a disease that affects our largest and longest organ in the body, the skin.

The skin’s main function is to protect us from foreign agents but also from ultraviolet radiation projected by the sun.

Skin cancer is presented as a disease in which our cells multiply uncontrollably, causing cancer cells in the skin tissues.

Cancer originates in the first layer of the skin called the epidermis and this, in turn, contains three types of cells; basal , squamous and melanocytes . Depending on the type of cells where the cancer develops, we can talk about non-melanoma skin cancer or melanoma skin cancer.

What is a melanoma?

In Spain, a total of 7,474 cases of melanoma are estimated in 2022, 3,377 in men and 4,097 in women according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology .

Survival at 5 years has greatly improved since the diagnosis of melanoma, exceeding 90% of patients diagnosed in early stages.

Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer we know of. It is one of the least frequent but if you develop it, it has a great capacity to invade other tissues and duplicate itself in other parts of the body.

It reproduces in the cells that are responsible for giving color to the skin and hair called melanocytes or pigment cells. We have to think that our skin is constantly exposed to different environmental and/or external factors.

The risk of suffering from melanoma

We have to know that the sun has beneficial effects for human life such as the psychostimulant effect, vasodilator and preventive stimuli such as the synthesis of vitamin D.

Excessive sun exposure can be malignant due to the effects of ultraviolet radiation that can cause burns , sunstroke , photosensitivity , skin aging and even skin cancer such as melanoma .

We can talk about two main risks ; The first is related to the amount of radiation that our body absorbs and that increases the risk that we can develop melanoma.

The second is related to the specificities of our skin. For example, the pigmentation of the skin may or may not favor the appearance of burns or difficulty tanning.

How do I know I have melanoma?

Dermatologists are the specialists in charge of monitoring and making an accurate diagnosis, but we can prevent and warn that something in our skin is not going well.

We must inspect our skin. The first warning signs are the appearance of irregular moles. Moles are spots on the skin that can appear anywhere on our body surface.

They are usually brown, chestnut or pinkish in color and when touched with the finger, they can be flat or raised. Moles tend to fade with age but can appear throughout our lives.

Periodic self -examination of your moles or skin spots is essential for the prevention and early diagnosis of a possible melanoma.

The ABCDE rule

This mnemonic to remember the self-examination of our skin is the most effective and easy to remember.

It is considered a simple method that will help you identify warning signs by following these steps:

  • that of asymmetry
  • b of edges
  • C for color
  • diameter D
  • and evolution

Observe carefully if there is an increase in diameter greater than 1 centimeter and even if you feel pain to the touch or discomfort. It is a very simple technique that could be decisive to go to your health center.

Prevention of melanoma

It is common sense that reducing sun exposure will be one of the main measures to take into account to prevent melanoma cancer, but what else can I do?

We call it photoprotection and it refers to all the measures we take to reduce exposure to ultraviolet rays, such as:

  • Avoid direct exposure during peak hours of the day between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Social and individual awareness that we should expose ourselves less to ultraviolet radiation.
  • Use photoprotective material clothing.
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreens with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after sun exposure to hydrate our cells and prevent cell damage.

The skin has memory, we must protect it and take care of it from external agents that can cause us any damage.

Bibliographic references

Spanish Academy of Dermatology. 2022. Skin is not fashion.

National Cancer Institute. 2022. What is skin cancer.

Spanish Society of Medical Oncology. 2022. Cancer figures in Spain.

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