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SKIN CANCER Skin Cancer is a malignancy in the skin and is the most common of all cancers There are three types of major skin cancers which are basal cell carcinoma squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma Basal cell carcinoma the most common type develops in the basal or bottom layer of the epidermis Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the upper layers of the epidermis Melanoma develops in the melanocytes or pigment cells which are the basal layer of the skin Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer Skin cancers can grow in any part of the skin however most grow in areas that are exposed to the sun especially the face neck hands and scalps Exposure to direct sunlight especially in early childhood is the major risk factor in getting skin cancer People with pale skin are the greatest risk of skin cancer particularly if their skin burns or freckles easily A family history of skin cancer can also increase a persons risk Another factor is a persons diet A recent study found that patients on a diet of 20 percent fat had fewer precancerous growths and non-melanoma skin cancers than those who had a diet of about 38 percent fat Early detection and treatment are the keys to survival especially for melanoma Any of the several skin changes can be a sign of a skin cancer and should be reported to a doctor These changes include any change in size shape color or texture of a mole or other dark pigmented area A mole could become itchy or tender and if its a new mole it may feel hard or even bleed which can also lead to skin cancer Lastly a skin ulcer that doesnt heal or a black spot under a toenail or fingernail that extends beneath the cuticle could also lead to a type of skin cancer To confirm a diagnosis of skin cancer a doctor
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