Cancer is the collective term for a collection of related diseases. There are several types of cancer, the common characteristic is that the disease causes some of the body’s cells to divide without stopping, and the growth can spread into surrounding tissues. Cancer can be found almost anywhere in the human body. Normal, healthy cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells replace them. When cancer develops, this process breaks down. Cells become more and more abnormal. Old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and/or new cells will form when they are not needed.
Sun exposure and cancer
Cancer can develop anywhere in the body for a great number of reasons. We know that skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin. However, it is important to remember that skin cancer can also form on the palms of your hand, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and even in your genital area. A popular misconception is that only fair skinned people who burn easily are at risk for skin cancer, but it actually affects people of all skin tones. Consider the signs and symptom of the three most common types of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is most likely to appear on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck or face. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a pearly or waxy bump or a flat, flesh-colored or brown lesion.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of your body; such as the face, ears, and hands. Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusty, surface.
Melanoma signs and symptoms
Melanoma can develop anywhere on normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma is also found on skin that has not been regularly exposed to the sun. Melanoma can appear as a large brownish spot with darker speckles, in a mole that changes in color, size, or texture. Bleeding moles can also indicate the presence of skin cancer. In less conspicuous areas, melanoma may appear as dark lesions on your palms, soles of the feet, fingertips or toes. Lesions may also appear on mucous membranes such as the lining the mouth, nose, vagina or anus.
Your Ballantyne dermatologists can screen for skin cancer
It is important to perform regular self-screenings, but it is important to schedule an annual screening with one of the doctors at Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte. They regularly provide high quality, innovative skin treatments, and cosmetic dermatology in a caring and professional environment. Dr. Nixon and Dr. Haught are board certified dermatologists whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your skin, hair, and cosmetic concerns. Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology; including removal of skin cancer. They provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox® treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. They provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call their office today for a skin care evaluation and analysis of your sun damaged skin, or any other skin condition.