Why We Develop Skin Cancer

Do you know why we develop skin cancer when we could prevent it?  Because you get too much sun.  It really is that simple.  For most of us, it is a lifestyle choice!

Cancer, according to the CDC website is the disease that makes cells start growing out of control.  This happens because the DNA has been affected. This is the meaning for cancer, not just skin cancer.  Uncontrolled cell growth.

The skin cells are affected by too much exposure to the sun and its’ UV Rays. They have had the ability to grow and replace new skin cells damaged and weakened.  The new skin that the damaged cell grows will be different.  Maybe only a little, but maybe a lot.

There is no longer a correct growth pattern from the original DNA.  The original pattern for reproduction has been changed.  So, as the body tries to heal itself. The cells are produced and often build up.  They are not programmed by you cells DNA correctly and the results are different, look different. At first, it may not even be noticeable until you look at your skin with some sort of magnifying tool.  You’ll probably notice a slight difference when you run your hand over the affected area.

This is part of why changing your lifestyles doesn’t seem important at first.  The damage is so slight. But, it is there and will continue.

How Does Skin Cancer Look

These excess skin cells are usually pink, from almost white to deep pink.   These cells no longer fit into the place of the ones that have been released and dropped off in your body’s normal growth patterns.

What happens when an area of your body’s skin is exposed to the sun too often? The ability for your DNA to continue to work as it should when repairing itself has been being weakened.  Over time, it will continue to weaken and soon will start to mutate by growing extra skin.  The body is just trying to protect itself with this extra skin.  However, it no longer has a strong DNA to grow the right kind of skin in that area.  This, in turn, makes a different looking patch of skin.

For years people just ignored this first warning system the body has, and the unsightly area was covered with clothing, if possible.  However, with changing clothing styles and lifestyles, this was more and more difficult to do.  People have access to more medical care, prompting a specialised science that we know as dermatology.  This, in turn, produced our dermatologist.  The rest is history!

Changing Lifestyles

With our culture and it’s a desire to have tanned skin, there is more and more exposure to the sun.  Do we always approach reasonably getting our tan?  Not usually.

I still have the “sunbonnet” my grandmother tried to encourage me to wear as a very young child.  She never went to the garden without hers on, but I had difficulty keeping mine on my head.

So many factors contribute to why we find ourselves sitting in the Dermatologist office.  For me, a major lack of common sense played a big factor. But as blame does not help here, let’s get on with the early stages of skin cancer.  The one that is known as Polymorphic Light Eruption

Early Skin Cancer: Polymorphic Light Eruption

With Polymorphic Light Eruption, the skin will produce a rash or pimple-like bumps when exposed to the bright sunlight.  This is an allergy-like reaction of the skin to the sun.  You can avoid the results by avoiding the sun.  When the reaction is severe, you can become quite ill and have a fever and other allergy symptoms.

When my son was less than a year old, he had a few of these reaction symptoms.  However, I didn’t know what it was.   It went away after we got home and had a cool bath and a nap.  We did not take this as a clue that we needed to change our lifestyle.  That was our early warning about how sensitive his skin was.  I  was unaware of this kind of reaction.  Hopefully, we are all a bit more aware now.

When your reaction is severe you may not outgrow your reaction to the sun as our son did. His skin quit reacting to the sun so quickly.  A baby is still developing its skin until about six months of age.  He stopped having a rash at about eight months of age.  He had maybe 4 or 5 episodes of sun rash, and it was through my stupidity.  I just did not know that he shouldn’t be out, even for a little while.

New Moms and Dads, please pay attention.  Recognize the rash on your little one’s body, face arms and legs. Is it from sun exposure?  Realize that your child’s skin may be extra sensitive. When he was young, this was often called heat rash.  Even though it is only on skin exposed to the sun.  If you have a rash after sun exposure, think about how to protect yourself.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is the kind of skin damage that occurs right before skin cancers form.

Example of Actinic Keratosis

This link above will help explain what Drs consider early actual skin cancers.

You will receive warnings from your Dermatologist when these early stages of skin cancer begin to form on your skin.   These are usually on older people and appear after years of exposure.  Some people regard them as proof of old age.  However, younger people are exposing themselves to more sun earlier and earlier in life.  As well as longer exposure times, they will see these Actinic keratoses earlier in life.

Another factor that may make you more susceptible to this kind of pre-cancer growth is the presence of HPV as the Human Papilloma Virus. This is pointed out on the Cancer.org website. A bit of information that was unknown to me.

As the Actinic Keratosis area becomes more damaged, the other stages of skin cancer develop.  This can do some serious skin damage and lead to infection if left untreated, this is the stage that sends most of us to find a dermatologist.  Pay attention, get some good skincare in the earlier stages of your development of pre-skin cancer.

Skin Cance Is Preventable

Normally, the earlier stage of skin cancer is preventable. This kind of skin condition,  that leads to skin cancer is from too much sun exposure.  You must start to protect early.  As well, you must be proactive!  Most of all, you must be aware.  I realize there is some repeated information here, but it is to press home the importance of staying aware.

Some cool hats to protect you from the sun

The link above can give you an idea of the different style hats to protect you from the sun.  This site has a great selection of hats for the whole family.  When skin protective clothing is attractive, it is easier to get yourself and your family to wear protective clothing.  Remember when you wore your letter jacket even though it was already summertime?  There are many choices by sun blocking clothing companies to help you take care of your skin.  Don’t delay protection for yourself and your family.

Disclaimer

Healthline.com and American Acadamy of Dermatology were part of my resources for this information.  There is so much information online.  I know you don’t want to read all the information that we now have to learn about skin cancers.

I didn’t either, but as member after member of my family has dealt with this result from too many hours in the sun, I decided to take the plunge.  There has been a month of research and study.  Visiting with my Dermatologist and other members of our clan, comparing what we have learned.  We have found that each Dermatologist has his or her own ideas about how we can help ourselves.

Hopefully, this information will help you protect yourself.  As I am sharing with my own family what I am finding out, I want the best of the best advice.  Maybe there will be something here you can use to make you and your family safer from skin cancer.