Skin Cancer Archive

Articles

Sunscreen makers withdraw products found to contain cancer-causing substance

In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson recalled five aerosol sunscreen products and CVS stopped selling two sunscreen products because of the presence of the carcinogen benzene.

Inspect your nails for melanoma

Melanoma doesn’t only affect the skin; it can sometimes occur in and around the nails on the fingers and toes. People should examine the nails as well as the skin for signs of cancer. One sign to look for is dark streaks or bands under the nail.

Here comes the sun

With summer approaching, you need to be more attentive about sun protection.

Men have many skin challenges as they age. They develop wrinkles, lines, spots, and discoloration. Older men also are at greater risk for the two most common skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Without adequate sun protection, these conditions can become more frequent and severe.

Safety of LED nail lamps

Ask the doctors

Q. I was worried about drying my nails with a lamp or light box at the nail salon because of the potential risk of cancer from the ultraviolet radiation, but my salon recently switched to LED lamps. Are they safer?

A. The light boxes used to cure polish during gel manicures, and to dry traditional nail polish, have raised some concern because — like tanning beds — they emit ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation, which is associated with a higher cancer risk. A 2014 study in JAMA Dermatology found that the level of UVA exposure associated with a gel manicure every two weeks probably isn't high enough to increase the risk of skin cancer significantly, but you are wise to be aware of the issue.

The science of sunscreen

Misinformation about sunscreen is common. Don't let myths deter you from using it to protect your skin.


 Image: © wragg/Getty Images

If you've ever searched online for information about sunscreen, what you found may have made you feel less than sunny about slathering on these lotions and creams. Sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays, but some of the claims made about it suggest it could do more harm than good.

Assertions include everything from statements that sunscreen is ineffective to warnings that it's outright dangerous. Some writers even go as far as to state that sunscreen may cause skin cancer, thanks to a purported harmful cocktail of toxic ingredients. That's enough to darken your day.

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Sarcomas are a type of cancer that develops from the soft tissues (fleshy parts) of the body, as well as from bone and fatty tissue. This type of cancer is different from carcinomas. Carcinomas develop more frequently in the body's organs, especially those organs that contain glands. Examples of carcinomas include lung cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a cancer that forms in the skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles attach to bones. They help the body move. Most rhabdomyosarcomas occur in children and teenagers.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

What Is It?

A sarcoma is a cancer that develops from particular tissues, such as muscle or bone. In contrast, most cancers develop from organs that contain glands, such as the breast, colon, prostate and lung, among others.

There are two types of sarcoma: osteosarcoma, which develops from bone, and soft tissue sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcoma can arise from muscle, fat, nerves, cartilage, or blood vessels. Cancerous tumors can develop when abnormal cells in these tissues multiply and grow out of control. Scientists do not yet fully understand why these cells become abnormal. However, most cancers are thought to develop due to genetic changes (mutations).

People know sun protection is important, but often skip it

Research we're watching

While more than three-quarters of Americans say that sun protection is important, less than half actually use it on a regular basis when they're heading outside, according to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. Some 28% of those polled said they rarely or never use sun protection, which includes using sunscreen, staying in the shade outside whenever possible, and wearing clothing such as hats or other items that can protect against the sun's rays. Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancers, affecting one in every five Americans, so the AAD says it's important that people take steps to protect themselves. The AAD recommends that you

  • wear sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher
  • stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its rays are the most intense
  • use clothing to protect your skin, such as a hat and long-sleeved shirt.

Image: © Aleksej Sarifulin/Getty Images

On the spot

What does that skin spot or growth mean, and when should you have it checked?

Even if you're diligent about sun protection (and you should be), you can still develop skin spots, growths, or other abnormalities.

But are they always cause for concern, or just a normal part of aging skin?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin

What Is It?

Squamous cells are small, flat skin cells in the outer layer of skin. When these cells become cancerous, they typically develop into flat or raised, rounded skin tumors. Sometimes the skin around the tumors gets red and swollen.

Most cases of squamous cell carcinoma occur in people who have spent lots of time in the sun—especially those with fair skin and blue eyes. Some cases develop on skin that has been injured or exposed to cancer-causing agents. This type of squamous cell cancer can develop on:

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