Skin cancer occurs when unrepaired DNA triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead to the uncontrollable growth of skin cells. As the skin cells multiply rapidly they form malignant tumors. The three major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the most serious type of skin cancer which is melanoma.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of cancer that develops in the outer layer of the skin inside the thin, flat squamous cells. It is usually non-life threatening but if left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can cause grow larger and spread to other parts of your body.
Basal cell carcinoma occurs on the areas of the skin that are most often exposed to the sun such as your face and neck. It affects the cells within the skin that produce new skin cells. It has slow growth often not showing up for many years. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body but it can cause significant destruction and disfigurement to surrounding tissues beneath your skin.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It is a cancerous growth responsible as the leading cause of death from skin disease. When damage to skin cells becomes irreparable, it triggers genetic mutations and rapid multiplication of malignant tumors.
If skin cancer has progressed, treatment can involve removing the abnormal cells and possibly the surrounding skin. In more aggressive cases of skin cancer radiation and chemotherapy may become necessary. Using preventative measures is the best way to combat this disease. Limit exposure to UV light, use sunblock with an SPF of at least 30, and get regular check-ups.
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