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Could the changes on your skin be skin cancer?

by , 27 January 2014

As a South African, you're used to spending a lot of time in the sun. You're lucky in terms of having such amazing weather, where other countries have dark, dreary, rainy days to contend with many days of the year. But it's not all sunshine and happiness when it comes to the hot African sun; it places you under an extremely high risk of developing skin cancer. Recognise the changes in your skin, so you seek treatment for skin cancer early on.

South Africa takes the number eight spot on the list of countries with the highest rate of skin cancer related deaths. That’s number eight in the entire world. 
 
And with skin cancer being the most common type of cancer occurring in SA, you need to know what to look out for so you can seek treatment immediately. 
 
The most common form of skin cancer is the non-melanoma type, which is the less aggressive type of skin cancer. 
 
And luckily, around 97% of all newly diagnosed skin cancers  are the non-melanoma type, which is the less aggressive type of skin cancer. 
 
Here’s how to recognise the three common types of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC).
 
Three skin changes that could be a sign of skin cancer
 
There are three types of NMSC, so make note of any sores on your skin, and what they look like. Compare them to these descriptions so you’ll know when to seek further treatment. 
 
#1. Actinic keratosis
 
A sore on your skin that may be the same colour as your skin, or be reddish and brown in colour. The sore will bleed and may form a crust, but it doesn’t heal and keeps growing. 
 
#2. Squamous cell carcinoma
 
This type usually develops from Actinic keratosis; it’s a larger patch of broken skin, or may appear as a growth. There may be a blackened crust and the sore doesn’t heal and bleeds frequently. 
 
#3. Basal cell carcinoma
 
This type appears as a lump, or fleshy sore. It’s usually got an indentation in the middle and may also scab and bleed frequently. 
 
If you have any concern about a sore on your skin, get examined by your doctor or a dermatologist right away!
 
Remember, prevention of skin cancer is far better than cure. So make sure that when you’re out in the sun, you’re wearing sun cream, wearing a hat and covering up as much of your skin as you can. Protect yourself from skin cancer and be sun wise. 
 

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