It is quick, easy, and may save your life!

Of all the different types of cancer, skin cancers are one of the most common, accounting for roughly a third of all diagnoses worldwide. As with other serious medical conditions, it’s possible for the symptoms of skin cancers to be detected at an early stage; the earlier they’re found, the greater the chance of successful treatment. There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma and melanoma. This article will look at both types and discuss the importance of getting annual check-ups.

Non-melanoma

Non-melanoma skin cancers are by far the most typical type of skin cancer, covering around 95% of all diagnoses. There are several types of non-melanoma skin cancer and of these, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common. Roughly 75% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, whilst 20% are squamous cell carcinoma. The good news about non-melanoma skin cancers is that they rarely spread to other parts of the body and are seldom lethal. In fact, well over 90% of all non-melanoma skin cancer cases are successfully cured.

Melanoma

Melanoma skin cancer is the far less common type of skin cancer, but it’s also the most aggressive, as it can easily spread to other parts of the body, especially if it isn’t treated early. If left too late, it is still possible to treat it, but it has a higher chance of becoming fatal. Of all the different types of skin cancer, melanoma is responsible for the most deaths. However, if caught early, it can be cured.

Prevention and annual check-ups

The best way to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer is by not going on sun beds, avoiding sun lamps and protecting your skin well whenever you’re out in the sun. This includes wearing plenty of clothing to cover your skin, applying suitable sun screen and making sure you don’t end up burning. While it’s easy for you to check your skin to see if there’s something out of the ordinary or different (new moles or changes to pre-existing moles), it’s a sensible idea to get annual check-ups done by a dermatologist. Your regular doctor can perform skin cancer check-ups, but if they notice anything out of the ordinary, they’ll refer you to a dermatologist for a further appointment. Therefore, it might be a good idea just to go straight to the dermatologist and cut out the middle man. Some may find it uncomfortable having a doctor/dermatologist check their entire body, but it’s necessary if you’re to be fully checked over for signs of skin cancer.

While it’s possible to take steps to prevent yourself from getting skin cancer, it’s still worth getting checked yearly just in case something is developing. As with any other medical condition, the sooner it’s spotted and treated, the better. Be sure to get annual check-ups and you’ll reduce your chances of becoming one of the thousands of people who die from skin cancer every year.

Resources & Further Reading:

http://www.who.int/uv/faq/skincancer/en/index1.html
http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/melanoma-guide/melanoma-skin-cancer-symptoms-types
https://unsplash.com/photos/TTXBfTdUOuc