Information about skin cancer.
Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells at an uncontrolled and unpredictable rate. The cancer tissue usually grows at the expense of surrounding normal tissue. In the skin, the most common types of cancer are basal cell carcinomas, actinic keratoses (the earliest form of skin cancer) and squamous cell carcinomas as well as melanoma. The names reflect the cell within the skin from which the particular type of skin cancer originates.
Skin, being the largest organ in the body, is readily visible allowing ongoing close examination. We know the risk factors for skin cancers and we know how to detect them. This knowledge makes skin cancer prevention, detection and successful treatment much more possible compared to other body conditions or cancers. It is truly one of the most preventable cancers in humans. It gives dermatologists such as me the opportunity to affect countless people in a positive way. We know that sun is good for us and we also know that too much sun, particularly when it causes substantial redness and sunburns, can cause considerable skin damage and cancers.
It is never too late for sun-smart behavior to start. Our skin has a tremendous capacity for regeneration and healing. I have seen that first hand in some of my patients. It is very encouraging and rewarding to see patients making a great recovery after what seems like a lot of skin damage.
Canadian Dermatology Association, http://www.dermatology.ca, promotes sun-smart behavior through its annual Sun Awareness Week. I, as a regional director of the Sun Awareness Week activities for Alberta, see first hand the need for public education regarding early detection and treatment of skin cancers. Every year, we hold educational sessions for patients and companies as well as free skin cancer screening. Every year, we find new skin cancers and direct patients for further treatments.
Skin Cancer is preventable; it is easily detected and can be treated effectively. Lets work together to make skin cancer a thing of the past and enjoy sun-smart behavior at the same time.