Skin cancer can occur at any age, with a higher incidence in people aged 40-60 years.
However, in recent years there has been an increase in cases in younger people. As the factors that favor its occurrence are skin type and exposure to sunlight, people with fair skin, freckles, moles, a family history of skin cancer and people who are frequently exposed to the sun or have received radiation therapy have an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
The incidence of skin cancer is particularly high in countries with high sunshine, such as Greece. Often, skin cancer occurs in people with a weak immune system, for example, people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or people who have undergone chemotherapy.
A less common, but extremely aggressive type of skin cancer is melanoma. Melanoma is caused by melanin cells, the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its characteristic colour. In advanced stages, melanoma can cause metastases and can even lead to death. Although as a type of skin cancer it has the lowest incidence rate, it is responsible for 80% of deaths from skin cancer.
For this reason, a person should be informed and consult a dermatology specialist in case a new nevus (mole) with an irregular shape appears or in case they notice that an existing nevus is altered. Characteristics of the alteration can be a change in size, shape or colour, as well as ulceration or bleeding of the mole. The most common sites of occurrence are mainly the back, arms, legs or face, as well as the genitals.
In men it occurs mainly on the trunk, while in women it occurs on the lower limbs. Melanoma, unlike other forms of skin cancer that usually affect older people, often occurs on the skin of young people.
The best precaution, especially for people at risk, is to avoid sun exposure and use appropriate clothing and protective sunscreens. However, you should bear in mind that the use of sun creams is not a proven means of absolute protection against skin cancer.
In addition, one should be examined once a year by a dermatologist who can detect early signs of precancerous lesions and prevent possible progression to skin cancer.
Finally, nevus mapping is an important weapon in the prevention of skin cancer and is recommended for people with dysplastic and numerous nevi, as well as for people with a family history of skin cancer.
Any person exposed to solar radiation can be affected. However, people with a light phototype, i.e. light skin and light eyes, are considered to be at high risk. In addition, although there are quite a few cases of young people affected by skin cancer, most cases are in older people.
People who have developed skin cancer are particularly prone to developing it again at the same or another site. In particular, those people who have developed basal cell carcinoma have an increased risk of developing the same or other types of skin cancer. Patients diagnosed with basal cell skin carcinoma have a 50% chance of recurrence of the same type in five years. For this reason, regular re-examination is recommended - every 6 months or so.
Although skin cancer is sometimes difficult to detect in time, there are some warning signs that should make us suspicious. These worrying signs on the skin can be: a sore that does not heal, local itching or pain, a change in the shape, colour or texture of a pre-existing mole (mole) or the appearance of a new one that is rapidly progressing in shape and size. In all cases, it is important to keep in mind that if skin cancer is detected early, it can be treated.
Although it is a fairly widespread belief, no, olive removal does not cause cancer. People who have developed cancer after having an olive removed means that the olive that was removed was malignant and was not removed properly in the first place.
Although there is no direct link between the use of artificial tanning and the development of cancer, the lamps used in artificial tanning emit UV-A radiation which has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin, reducing the body's defenses. People who frequent tanning centers are more likely to develop skin cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
It has been shown that the occurrence of skin cancer, in addition to external factors, is also due to hereditary causes. More specifically, people whose parents or siblings have developed skin cancer are more likely to develop it themselves. This hereditary association applies to all types of skin cancer, including melanoma. In this case, you should not be alarmed, but be more systematic in self-examination and preventive dermatological screening and rush to the dermatologist if you spot any worrying sign.