Skin Cancer Basics: What You Need To Know

Skin cancer is one of the more prevalent cancers among adults and is extremely serious in many cases. Fortunately, a number of skin cancer treatments are quite effective if the disease is caught in the early stages. The following article offers a guide to skin cancer that will help you protect yourself from this potentially devastating disease.


The primary cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. You are exposed to UV radiation when you go outside during the daytime. Other sources of UV radiation, or rays, are tanning beds and sunlamps. Another, less common cause is having a weakened immune system that prevents your body from fighting off invasive cancer cells.


Because most skin cancer is the result of excessive exposure to UV radiation, prevention methods generally involve limiting your exposure to these harmful rays. Because the sun is typically emanating UV radiation at high levels between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daylight savings time, it's a good idea to limit your time outdoors during these hours. When you do go outdoors when UV radiation is strong, make sure that you wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and a shirt and pants that cover your arms and legs. Also, use sunscreen when you are outdoors.

Tanning beds and sun lamps should both be avoided, as the risks they pose are not worth getting a tan. Tanned skin is merely a sign that your skin has been damaged.


If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you have various options for treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. The specific treatment your doctor recommends depends on several factors, including the type of skin cancer you have and the stage at which it has reached. Some small skin cancer lesions that have not spread to other parts of the body may be removed completely through a biopsy, with no further treatment necessary. 

Other skin cancers caught in an early stage can sometimes be eliminated by freezing the lesion. After this procedure, the cancerous tissue will simply fall off your body. Often skin cancers that have not spread too far are removed by excision of the lesion along with some surrounding healthy skin. In more advanced cancers, the doctor may recommend radiation or chemotherapy. 

If you notice any signs of skin cancer, such as a lump or lesion on your skin that does not go away or a mole that changes its color or shape, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They will let you know if you require any type of skin cancer treatment.

 For more info, contact a local center like Desert Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists.