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  • Skin Cancer: A Gateway Cancer?

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    The skin is the largest organ in the body. It covers the body, protecting it from injury, regulating its temperature and preventing it from becoming dehydrated. Skin, like all other body tissues, is made up of cells. It has two main layers called the epidermis and the dermis. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer but it is the most serious. It can often appear as a new spot or an existing spot that changes size, shape or colour. Melanoma often has an irregular edge or surface, and it may be more than one colour such as brown, black, blue, red, white or light grey. Left untreated, a melanoma may spread deeper into the skin where cancer cells can escape and be carried in lymph vessels or blood vessels to other parts of the body. The earlier melanoma is diagnosed, the better the chance of cure.

    The claim: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are two of the most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancers, affecting more than 3 million Americans annually. And while they're easy to treat and rarely fatal, there’s another risk involved: Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) found at a young age significantly raise your risk of developing other cancers later in life, according to a new study published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.

    The research: UK researchers compared data of people with a history of NMSCs to those with no history. At the end of a 5- to 6-year follow up, 67,148 out of 502,000 people who had a history of NMSC had developed another cancer, while just 863,441 out of 8 million people without a history of NMSC did. When the researchers did the math, the results were staggering: “Everyone who has had an NMSC has a 30% increased risk of developing cancer in the future,” says lead author …

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    michael

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