Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. These are cancerous cells, much like other forms of cancer, but they begin in the skin. The three types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carinoma, and melanoma.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Depending on the type of skin cancer you have, you may see any number of signs. These can include bumps or lesions on the skin, red nodules, or moles that change in color, size, or shape. Generally, any blemishes that change on your skin – particularly in sun-exposed areas of the skin like your face, neck, chest, arms, and hands – should be looked at to ensure that it is not a form of skin cancer.

What causes skin cancer?

Most skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The most common place where you are exposed to UV rays is outdoors, as sunlight is a major source of these rays. Another location is tanning beds and tanning salons. However, having a condition that weakens your immune system can add to your risk of skin cancer as well.

How is skin cancer treated?

Treatment for skin cancer is generally determined by the extent which the skin cancer has spread. If caught early, the cancerous cells may be frozen off with cryosurgery or removed with laser surgery. If this is not an option, you might have to undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy to destroy the cancer.

How is skin cancer prevented?

The most effective way to keep skin cancer from developing is to treat your skin with care. This means that you do not expose your skin to UV rays for long periods of time. Suntan lotion should be used – at least SPF 15 – to protect your skin. You should also cover as much of your skin as possible when outdoors, and spend time in the shade. Also, avoid sun tanning salons. All of these steps can help you keep your skin healthy.