Let’s Talk About SKIN CANCER

SKIN CANCER which most often times develop on areas of the body that have the greatest exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, is commonly found on the face, chest, hands, arms and other times on the legs of women.

When this happens, errors occur in the DNA of skin cells; squamous, Basal and melanocytes cells. These errors called mutations then cause the cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancer cells.

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of the skin cells that may extend to other areas of the body not exposed to the sun such as the vagina, anus, palms etc. Skin cancer is not colour subjective. It can happen to anyone of any colour/skin tone.


Basically, there are three (3) types of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: the most common skin cancer in humans.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: the second most common skin cancer
Melanoma: Originates from the pigment-producing skin cells (melanocytes). It is less common but the most dangerous.

What are likely symptoms of SKIN CANCER

Symptoms vary from pearly bump, bleeding sore that heals and returns, flat scar-like lesion with crusted surface, firm red nodule, mole that changes in colour or size, painful lesion that itches or burns, dark lesions on your palms, fingertips or toes, mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, anus or vagina.

Who is at risk of having SKIN CANCER?

  • Irrespective of any skin tone with the likelihood of having skin cancer, those with less melanin secretion in the skin, the light skinned, are more likely to develop skin cancer. Melanin provides more protection from the damages of UV radiation.
  • According to studies, Getting sunburnt just once every two years, can triple the risk of having skin cancer. In a recent research based on 100,000 people, it showed that one sunburn between the age of 15 and 25 increased the risk of melanoma skin cancer by 50% and four episodes of sunburn more than doubles the risk.
  • Anyone who spends most of the time in the sun, including tanning, may develop skin cancer especially if the skin is not protected by sunscreen or clothing.
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • People who have moles or abnormal moles called dysplastic nevi are at increased risk of skin cancer.
  • People with weakened immune systems like people living with HIV/AIDS have a greater risk of developing skin cancer.

How can you reduce the risk of having SKIN CANCER?

  • You can reduce the risk of skin cancer by limiting or avoiding exposure to UV radiation.
  • Make use of sun creams with Sun Protective Factor of at least 30 everyday and of course creams that are right for your skin type
  • Wear protective light clothing like ones that won’t expose your skin to the sun and sunglasses, hats etc.
  • Often check your skin for suspicious changes, which can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages.


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