Skin care is a serious problem and definite risk. The sun's rays have long been thought harmful, and now the truth of that fear has been proven. UVA and UVB rays are not the only things which cause skin cancer, but the sun is a very common cause. The point is that skin cancer is now on a lot of people's minds. However, the problem is that most do not understand very much about the different types of skin cancer, specifically melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Because knowledge is the best prevention, knowing the difference is crucial.
Melanoma is actually the most serious kind of skin cancer. In this case, the cancer develops in the body's melanin producing cells. Melanin is the pigment which gives skin its color. It can also make up the eyes and occasionally forms internal organs. No one is exactly sure what causes melanoma but it has definite warning signs.
For instance, a mole may change in size and shape or a new, strange looking growth may show up. However, melanoma can also occur in normal moles; it can show up in abnormal looking moles too. The mole may be scaly, it may be itchy, its texture may undergo a change, or is pigmentation may start spreading; it may even begin to bleed or ooze. There are certain types of hidden melanomas as well. They can occur in the mouth, under the nails, in the digestive tract, the urinary tract, or the vagina; some types can show up in the eye.
Conversely, basal cell carcinoma, while it is the most common kind of skin cancer, is significantly less serious. It is, in fact, quite easily treated and only rarely spreads to other areas. All the same, these cancer cells can damage the surrounding tissue and even the bone if they are not removed in a timely manner.
This can be somewhat difficult, as basal cell carcinoma can take years to develop. They generally occur in older adults because of that fact. They also tend to recur. It is known that this type of skin cancer is most often caused by long term exposure to the sun's UV radiation. It cannot be prevented by sun screen, although that is an important part of being safe in the sun.
This type of skin cancer can show up in several ways, such as in the form of a sore which will not heal properly; it can be a white or wax like bump on the face, neck, or ears. Sometimes an unusual patch of skin will appear on the back or chest area.
However, basal cell carcinoma is relatively easy to prevent. Avoiding the sun when it is at its most blazing is the easiest way to avoid this type of skin cancer. One should always wear sun screen as much as possible when out in the sun for an extended period of time. Protective clothing and plenty of vitamin D are essential preventative measures as well. Of course, regularly checkups are a crucial part of preventing any type of skin cancer.
For something so serious, it is surprisingly easy to prevent melanoma as well. The prevention measures here are much the same as those for basal cell carcinoma. Avoiding the sun at its hottest point, wearing sun screen and protective clothing, and having frequent check ups are all important. One should avoid tanning beds or sun lamps as well.