Research has found that an obvious change a wart or mole could indicate cancer.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It plays a vital role in the body’s protection against infection, mechanical damage, and high temperatures. However, because of its function as the body’s protective barrier, it can also be vulnerable to diseases and conditions such as skin cancer.
Skin cancer has become more prevalent in recent years due to the current situation of the earth’s ozone layer. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 2 to 3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year.
Learn more about skin cancer, and what are the particular signs or changes in the skin to look out for that may be a cause for concern.
Skin Cancer: The Basics
Skin cancer occurs due to mutations that result in malfunction and uncontrolled reproduction of cells in the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin).
Although skin cancer can be attributed to the harmful ultraviolet rays that come from the sun or artificial light, scientists are still unsure as to why skin cancer can develop in areas of the skin which are not exposed to harmful light rays.
Skin cancer can occur in the different cells located in the epidermis, namely:
- Squamous cells: These are cells that are found on the surface of the skin, and can also be found in the lining of hollow organs and along the respiratory and digestive tracts. Squamous cells are usually flat and appear like fish scales.
- Basal Cells: Basal cells are located underneath squamous cells, and are responsible for producing new skin cells.
- Melanocytes: Melanocytes can be found in the skin, as well as the eyes. These cells create melanin, which is what gives the human eyes, hair, and skin their unique color. Melanin also protects the skin from the sun. The more sun the skin is exposed to, the more melanin it produces.
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