Characterised by a shiny bump, pink skin growth, reddish patches, a scar resembling white or yellow defined border, skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. Around 132,000 people develop debilitating skin cancers every year globally, says WHO. Skin cancer is basically the uncontrolled growth of skin cells in the outermost layer of the skin due to DNA damage triggered by mutations. Majorly, there are four types of skin cancer namely basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Let’s know about each of them one by one.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
It arises in the epidermis from the basal cells of the skin. Basal cell carcinoma occurs in areas (ears, face, scalp, shoulder, neck) that are generally exposed to the sun. Being outside for long, exposing your body to the UV rays, having fair skin colour, being affected by chronic infections, etc. can increase your chance of developing BCC. It accounts for 90 per cent of all skin cancers. If you have sore that is not healing even after 10 days, red patches that hurt and bleed easily, and shiny bump on your skin, you are most probably suffering from BCC.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
It arises in the outermost skin layer from the squamous cells. Just like BCC, SCC also occurs in areas generally remain exposed to the sun. But it is much severe than the previous one. If not treated on time, it can metastasize and lead to death.
It develops from the skin cells that produce melanin pigment which is responsible for providing colour to the skin. Unlike the previous two types, melanoma can occur even in areas that are not exposed to the sun. They usually resemble moles. The use of tanning beds can raise your risk of developing melanoma. It is the most dangerous form of skin cancer among the first three forms.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Merkel cell carcinoma is rare but is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Usually occurring on the head, neck, and eyelids, Merkel cell carcinoma looks like a firm but painless lesions. It is believed to arise from the base of the epidermis. MCC is most common in people with fair skin colour.
To reduce your risk of developing skin cancers, you should avoid being in the sunlight for too long. Also, tanning beds and sun lamps must be avoided. Do not forget to apply a good sunscreen whenever you step out of your house. Make sure the SPF of the sunscreen is 30 or higher. Additionally, you can wear sunglasses claiming to offer 100 per cent protection against UVA and UVB.