Recently, Hollywood was rocked when Hugh Jackman, and then Vinnie Jones, came out and told the world that they had Skin Cancer. Skin Cancer is the most of Cancers in the US. But what about Singapore?
The Singapore Cancer Society was kind enough to provide the following bits of information: both benign and malignant skin tumours have been ranked as one of the top five diagnoses for the past 10 years.
Notable differences in Skin Cancer incidence rates are also observed between ethnic groups, with the highest incidence rates among the fairer-skinned Chinese followed by Malays and then Indians. This is a result of natural skin pigmentation and the ability to tan. Although it is not one of the top 10 cancers that cause death, Skin Cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males and sixth most common in females.
But what is Skin Cancer exactly?
The skin has two layers: the epidermis and the dermis; beneath the dermis is a layer of fat. There are many types of cells in the skin and when any one type of abnormal cells multiply out of control, it develops into Skin Cancer.
What are some common forms of Skin Cancer?
Basal Cell Carcinoma is a cancer of the basal cells of the epidermis. It is a slow growing, painless Skin Cancer.
Look out for a painless lump or ulcer with a shiny or translucent raised border. It is often pigmented and commonly appears on the face.
Bowen’s Disease is an early localized cancer of keratinocytes.
Look out for a slowly enlarging scaly reddish brown patch. There is usually some scaling and crusting on the surface. It occurs on both exposed (induced by sun / ultraviolet radiation) and unexposed (related to arsenic ingestion) skin.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a cancer developing from the keratinocytes of the epidermis. If it is left untreated, the cancer may spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.
Look out for a firm, irregular, fleshy growth, usually on sun-exposed skin. The growth can increase rapidly in size, giving rise to a large lump which may sometimes break down to form an ulcer.
So how can you prevent against Skin Cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and sun exposure have been shown to be an important factor in the development of skin tumours. Avoidance of unnecessary sun exposure may help decrease the risk of Skin Cancers.
Avoid unnecessary prolonged sun exposure
Avoid sun tanning and UV tanning booths
Use sun protective gear such as umbrella, hats, close-weaved clothing when going out in the sun
Use sunscreen of at least SPF30+ with UVA protection appropriately
From the five-yearly reports from the Singapore National Registry of Diseases Office, Skin Cancer incidence rates among Singaporeans have seen an almost four-fold increase from 2.9* in 1968 to 1972, to 12* in 2007 to 2011. – Singapore Cancer Society