Skin cancer usually occurs when mutations happen in the DNA of skin cells. These cause the cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancer cells. Skin cancer usually begins in the epidermis, which is the thin top layer of skin protecting the skin cells.
Skin cancer is a huge problem in many countries, and especially in countries like Australia where UV exposure is greater. The ozone layer above Australia is particularly thin, and moreover, Australians are known as people who love the great outdoors, and these two factors combined, puts Australians more at risk of skin cancer than any other country, although the number of reported patients globally is quite alarming.
While it is true that anyone could be at risk of getting skin cancer, there are certain factors that put certain people more at risk than others. Doctors recommend that people who are more at risk should go for regular skin cancer checks in Melbourne or a clinic in a city close to them, as early detection is an important factor for treating skin cancer effectively. Skin cancer checks are available at any skin cancer clinic in Melbourne or any other city, where you can even get more information on the prevention and treatment of skin cancer.
Skin cancer checks in Melbourne, or anywhere else, are carried out by medical professionals, and usually need to be done every 6 to 12 months. However, if the doctor feels that you may have a higher risk of getting skin cancer, then they may require you to get the skin checks done at closer intervals, in order to properly observe any suspicious-looking moles, lumps, spots or lesions.
So, what are the risk factors involved when it comes to skin cancer?
- Age – It has been found that the risk of skin cancer increases with age due to accumulated exposure to UV radiation. People who had been sunburned as children have a higher risk of the disease than others.
- Immune suppression – Certain viruses, diseases, and immune suppression therapy can weaken a person’s immune system, making them more susceptible to skin cancer. For example, people who have undergone organ transplants may be at higher risk of getting the disease.
- Gender – It has been found that men are more at risk of getting certain types of skin cancer than women.
- Skin Tone – People with very fair skin are at greater risk of skin cancer, as are people who have skin that freckles or burns easily. Studies have also found that blonde and red-haired people, as well those people with either blue or green eyes are more likely to get skin cancer than those who don’t have these physical features.
- Moles – Although moles are not usually cancerous, there can be instances when abnormally shaped, sized, or colored moles have been found to be cancerous over time. Moles that are larger than the eraser on a pencil, should be immediately checked out at a skin cancer clinic in Melbourne or anywhere close to you.
- Family and personal history – People who have had close family members, such as siblings, parents, or grandparents, who have had skin cancer, and those people who have suffered from the disease previously are at greater risk and should take actions to protect themselves, and always be alert for warning signs.
- Inherited – Skin cancer can also be caused by certain inherited diseases that affect the skin’s ability to repair UV damage.
- Smoking – Smokers, whether excessive or not, are more likely to get skin cancer, especially in areas around the mouth and on the lip.
- Exposure to chemicals – Those exposed to certain chemicals, such as Arsenic, have an increased risk of getting skin cancer.
- UV Exposure – Even if you do not fall under any of these other high-risk categories, extreme exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays means that you are at risk of getting the disease. This is especially true for those people whose jobs require them to work outside or those who spend a lot of their leisure time soaking up the sun. These people should take protective measures when going out, such as using clothing to cover up exposed skin or using a good quality broad-spectrum SPF-30 (or higher) sunscreen.
- Virus – Those affected by certain types of the Human Papilloma Virus and those people with HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to skin cancer as they have very weakened immune systems.