How to detect skin cancer and its main symptoms

It is known as skin cancer by abnormal cell growth of it, and usually develops due to excessive exposure to the sun (although it can occur in areas that are not normally exposed so much). It develops many years after the burns, so you have often heard that the skin "has memory", and in our country the incidence of melanoma is 9.7% per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the data collected in 2018.

Abnormal cell growth is caused by ultraviolet radiation, by damaging the DNA of the aforementioned skin cells, mutations or genetic effects that can cause malignant tumors are triggered. Even so, it is important that you know that there are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Types of skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma. It is the most common form, it is formed within the basal cells of the skin, which line the deepest part of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). Sometimes sores, red sleeves, pink growths, bumps or scars are observed, and usually occur in body parts who have been exposed too much to the sun (face, ears, neck, shoulders, back or scalp). They grow slowly so, fortunately, they are curable if detected early.

Squamous cell carcinoma. It is the second most common type and is formed in squamous skin cells. It is mainly caused by a cumulative exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and, again, is usually found in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun (lower lip, face, scalp, hands, arms, legs …), in addition to spots or sores they can also crust and bleed. Most are treated successfully, but if they grow up they can become deadly.

If you notice something unusual (new moles, changing shape, itching or bleeding …), see a doctor immediately

Melanoma. The most dangerous, develops from the melanocytes (cells that produce the melanin pigment that gives skin color). They are often triggered by intense exposure to UV rays and often appear lunar or develop from them. They are black or brown, but also red, blue, pink or white. It must be treated early, as it can be fatal if it spreads to other parts of the body or more deeply.

Risk factor's

Clear skin. Everyone can get skin cancer, but have less skin pigment It provides less protection against UV radiation, so if you have blond or red hair, light eyes or freckles and burn more easily with the sun, you are more likely to develop the disease. If you also live in hot climates and are exposed to more sunlight, be careful.

Moles. People with many atypical moles (called 'dysplastic nevi'), which are irregular and generally larger, should also be checked regularly if they have changes.

Burns history. If you spend considerable time in the sun you are more likely to develop skin cancer, especially if you do not protect yourself with sunscreen or clothing. Having one or more sunburn blisters as a child or teenager increases the chances too, in fact people who use tanning beds before age 35 increase the risk of melanoma by 75%, according to the dermatologist Saya Obayan in 'New York Post'.

Family or personal history. If you or a family member developed it in the past, the risk that suffer from the disease or have it again is greater.


Of course it is essential, and that is why it recommend using sunscreen In addition to looking for shadows, cover yourself with clothes, hats and sunglasses. Protection must be at least 15 every day, and more than 30 for prolonged outdoor activities (Remember to reapply immediately after swimming or sweating).

Those who tan artificially before age 35 increase the risk of melanoma by 75%

Also, avoid the sun during noon, because they are the most dangerous hoursAvoid sunbeds and be careful with photosensitive medications, which can cause the skin is more sensitive in sunlight (ask the doctor or pharmacist for side effects).

When to go to the doctor

Early detention is important since skin cancer found and removed early It is highly treatable. However, if it is not detected, it can be deadly. It is because of that the Skin Cancer Foundation It is recommended that you go to the dermatologist annually to have a skin exam. Also, carefully check all your skin in case you see something changing or unusual (new moles ore change shape, growths that itch or bleed, sores that do not heal in weeks), and see a doctor immediately.