Skin cancer is amongst the most common forms of cancer for people of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. We all know that we should be wearing sunscreen and covering up, yet so many of us continue to ignore the risks of developing potentially life threatening cancer. Of course, all of the precautionary measures in the world cannot guarantee that you or your family will avoid developing skin cancer at some point. For this reason, it is important to know and understand the signs and symptoms of skin cancer.
With this in mind, today we will discuss the different types of skin cancer, the warning signs of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer), how to identify troublesome moles, and answer a few commonly asked skin cancer questions.
Understanding Different Types of Skin Cancer
There are three primary forms of skin cancer:
Melanoma is perhaps the most well known, and certainly the most notorious of all skin cancers. We will get more in depth with the warning signs for melanoma in the section below. What causes melanoma remains a mystery to this day, but there is a direct link between UVA and UVB exposure and developing this deadly disease.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the opposite of melanoma when it comes to patient outlook. The least risky of all the skin cancers, BCC is often lighter in color and can even look similar to a common pimple. Treatment often involves removing the tumor by cutting it out, a scraping technique, or freezing the tumor similar to a wart.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is directly caused by UV ray damage. The key to treating SCC is early detection. Unlike BCC, SCC may spread to other body parts where treatment can become difficult. When caught early, treatment is relatively straightforward and carries lesser risk.
Warning Signs of Melanoma (Skin Cancer)
As stated above, melanoma is the deadliest and more difficult to treat amongst all skin cancers. Men are particularly susceptible to melanoma as our skin is less adept at combating direct UV ray exposure. The one positive in this equation is that melanoma can be detected, diagnosed, and treated in the early stages with a vigilant eye. Here is what to look out for:
- Asymmetrical shapes: if your moles are asymmetrical and have two sections which are quite different, that is a major warning sign for potential melanoma.
- Borders are irregular: healthy moles have well defined edges. Cancerous moles may have raised edges, scalloped skin, notched skin, and other abnormalities.
- Changes in color: again, healthy moles are generally uniform in coloration and remain the same color over time. This is why checking moles regularly is always a great idea.
- Diameters greater than ¼ inch: if your moles are abnormally large or are growing, seeing a doctor can’t hurt.
- Evolving moles: if your mole changes in any way over time, including shape, size, coloration or texture, that is a potential sign of melanoma.
Skin Cancer FAQs
When should I see a doctor to check my moles?
First things first — if you have moles, you should ask your doctor to check them at every regular checkup. All men, women, and children should have an annual physical. There is no reason to be shy about bringing up your moles then. Otherwise, look for the ABC’s of skin cancer we listed in the previous section. If any of those are occurring or may be occurring, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Does sunscreen really help prevent skin cancer?
Numerous scientific studies have proven over and over that sunscreen works and it is safe. The Skin Cancer Foundation cites research showing that “regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.” There is no reason to risk skin cancer when applying sunscreen is so simple.
How can I strengthen my skin to fight against potential skin cancer?
While there is no magic answer to this question, healthy skin will generally do a better job at preventing and/or fighting skin cancer than less healthy skin. To this end, general skin health tips like practicing good hygiene, using a once-daily moisturizer, and of course using sunscreen are all great places to start.
How many people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year?
Nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer each and every day in the United States. Not only is that number high, but trends seem to indicate that skin cancer rates are only climbing higher as time moves on. Melanoma in particular has more than doubled in prevalence since the early 80’s. Just remember that skin cancer is highly preventable, detectible, and treatable if you know what to look for.
Help Protect Your Skin with HEFF Daily Moisturizing Cream for Men
At HEFF, we understand that serious health issues like skin cancer are matters for medical professionals. Our daily moisturizing cream for men may be strong, but it is no substitute for healthy sun protection practices and regular doctor visits. We also believe that hydrated skin is strong skin. For hard working men, once-daily HEFF can repair, restore, and renew dry and damaged skin so that you can perform your best.
Every purchase of HEFF supports military and first responder personnel through Operation Gratitude. We are proud to donate a tube of HEFF for every tube purchased. To give HEFF a try today, find us at any one of the following national retailers, shop on Amazon, or feel free to contact us directly.