3 Reasons You Don't Need To Fear Skin Cancer (And One You Do)

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If you're at all exposed to media you know that skin cancer is on the rise. One in five people will develop skin cancer at some time in their life. If that number accompanied by the C word makes you feel uncomfortable, it should. Skin cancer can be a serious condition. However, if you're reading this then you already know that, and maybe need a little reassurance. Here are 3 good reasons not to panic about skin cancer (and one reason you should).

1. Don't Panic! It's Slow Growing!

Some types of cancer are more aggressive than others. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is known to be an invasive and fast growing cancer that is virtually untreatable. However, most skin cancers are slow to grow and slower to metastasize. The most common types of skin cancer, squamous cell and basal cell, and neither of them is considered aggressive. You would have to have this cancer for a very long time before it would kill you, because it takes so long for them to reach the blood stream.

2. Don't Panic! It's Treatable!

Not only are these common cancers slow to present a serious threat to your health, they are also incredibly easy to treat. Most of the time, all that need be done is a simple cryosurgery, wherein a dermatology services professional will use liquid nitrogen to freeze off the tumor. It takes only a few seconds and stings a little, and then the cancerous cells die and slough off. You may have a blister from treatment while your skin heals from the trauma of being frozen, but it will heal quickly, and then you'll be cancer free.

3. Don't Panic! It's Easily Recognizable!

Some cancers are only dangerous because they are so difficult to diagnose before they are wreaking havoc on your body systems. Skin cancer is one of the easiest to recognize and treat early because it is literally on the surface of your body. All you need to do in order to get timely treatment is recognize the signs, which can be hard to miss if you know what you're looking for.

  • Red or brown patches of scaly, flaky or bleeding skin.
  • A pimple or sore that doesn't heal within two weeks.
  • A mole that appears different from your other moles, grows, changes color, or has an irregular border

Even melanoma, the most aggressive and deadly type of skin cancer, is easily recognized most of the time and can be successfully treated when caught early enough.

The One Time You Should Worry

If you're seeing your dermatologist and doing monthly skin checks, you have very little to fear when it comes to skin cancer, even if you're at a high risk for developing it. However, if you're not taking care of yourself, you could develop a reason to panic. Squamous cell and basal cell cancers are not likely to metastasize, but melanoma is. It starts as a flat, dark or discolored patch of skin but can quickly begin to grow deeper into your skin tissue, eventually reaching the blood stream where it can travel to other parts of the body. If you notice something amiss with your skin, don't wait until your next dermatologist appointment; go in right away.

Even though melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, it is still very treatable with a simple surgery called a lumpectomy when it's caught early enough.

Many people hear the word "cancer" and automatically think "death." Fortunately, skin cancer is almost always treatable, easily recognizable, and slow to grow. If you have questions about your skin, see your doctor, but for most people, checking their skin regularly and seeking treatment early is enough to save their own lives. Don't you feel better now?