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Signs Of Skin Cancer

Signs of skin cancer are important to know. With a million new cases reported each year, itís become so common that about 50 percent of Americans over age 65 are expected to have at least one case of treatable non-malignant skin cancer in their lifetime.
The main culprit is the sun. Every minute youíre exposed to the sun, carcinogenic solar UV radiation creates growth of highly reactive free radicals that contribute to both premature skin aging and the formation of cancers of the skin.

The highly intensive sun exposure of a day at the beach seems to be much more harmful than a farmerís gradual long term occupational exposure. And, people whoíve had blistering sunburns have twice as much skin cancer as people who were never burned at all. But, thereís no such thing as a ďsafe tan.Ē

Those with fair freckled skin, blond or red hair and blue or light colored eyes are at the greatest risk of the disease. And, itís more prevalent closer to the equator. For example, the Arizona statistics are three times those of Boston. This is because skin cancer is primarily associated with sunburn.

Although, many are aware of the connection between summer sun and cancer, few people realize that winter sun exposure, sun reflected off snow and indoor tanning from tanning beds or sun lamps can be just as harmful.

Skin cancers seldom hurt, so donít count on pain as a warning signal. And, with about 20 square feet of skin, occasional bumps or skin blemishes are common, but not necessarily cancerous. However, to be safe, any new small shiny or waxy lump or pinkish, red growth lasting more than two weeks without healing should be checked out immediately for early detection and treatment.

Of the one million new cases each year, about 95 percent, if detected and treated early, have a 95 percent cure rate. Even malignant melanoma, the most life threatening form, can be treated effectively if detected at an early stage while itís still localized.

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