What is the skin?

skinSkin is a soft outer tissue that covers the body. The skin interfaces with the environment and is the first line of defence from external factor such as pathogens and prevents excessive water loss. Its other functions are insulationtemperature regulation, sensation, and the production of vitamin D folates.

The skin can vary from 0.5mm thick under the eyes and around the eyelids, to 4 mm on palms and soles of the feet.

What is skin cancer?

They are due to the development of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. There are three main types of skin cancers: basal-cell skin cancer (BCC), squamous-cell skin cancer (SCC) and melanoma. The first two, along with a number of less common skin cancers, are known as nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

UV exposure increases the risk of all three main types of skin cancer. Exposure has increased partly due to a thinner ozone layer. For melanomas and BCCs exposure during childhood is particularly harmful. For SCCs total exposure, irrespective of when it occurs, is more important. Diagnosis is by biopsy.

Who might  experience it?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, globally accounting for at least 40% of cases. The three main types of skin cancer have become more common in the last 20 to 40 years, especially in those areas which are mostly Caucasian.

Risk factors include;

  • People with light skin
  • Poor immune function such as from medications or HIV/AIDS (40% of cases)
  • Exposure to UV radiation from sun (>90%) and tanning beds
  • Having multiple moles
  • Family history (20-30%)


Adapted from Wikipedia

For more information visit Cancer Research UK


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