Top 5 Myths About Skin Cancer

There are more than 3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year. This is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and there are many myths about this disease. Here are some of the top myths about skin cancer:


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States but it is also the most preventable. Despite this, myths and misconceptions about skin cancer run rampant. Although there are many types of skin cancers, this article focuses on the two most common – basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.

1. MYTH: Only people who spend a lot of time in the sun get skin cancer

FACT: While excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds can definitely increase your risk for developing skin cancer, you don’t have to be a sun worshipper to develop this disease. Skin cancer can occur on areas of your body that don’t often see the light of day. It can also occur in individuals with darker skin tones, so don’t get too comfortable just because you have more melanin in your skin.

2. MYTH: Skin cancers do not require immediate medical attention

FACT: If you notice any changes in your moles or freckles, such as an increase in size, irregular borders or even a change in color, it is imperative that you have them checked out by a dermatologist immediately. Any change in an existing mole should be considered suspicious for melanoma until proven otherwise.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

Protect your skin from the sun and avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Examine your skin head-to-toe every month: Have a partner help check hard-to-see places like your back or scalp.

Know what is normal for YOU: This way you’ll be able to spot changes in moles or freckles that could be a sign of melanoma or other types of skin cancer.

The Integumentary System

The integumentary system is the largest organ system in the body. It is made up of all the external structures of your body, including your hair, nails and skin.

Your skin, or integument, is composed of two layers: the outer covering called the epidermis and an inner layer called the dermis. Your hair and nails are extensions of these layers. Underneath your skin is a layer of fat that cushions your body.

Your skin protects you in many ways. It helps keep harmful substances out of your body and prevents loss of fluids. It also has sensory receptors that detect sensations such as touch and heat.

Your skin also plays a role in regulating body temperature. When you get too warm, blood vessels near the surface dilate to release heat from your body, making you feel cooler. When you’re too cold, constriction of these blood vessels conserves heat and makes you feel warmer. Excretory glands found in hair follicles produce sweat to help cool your body when it gets hot. Sweat molecules evaporate off the skin’s surface to absorb heat from your body.

Protecting You From Harm

Your skin acts as a barrier against damaging environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays from sunlight, extreme

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. It provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone. The epidermis contains no blood vessels, and is nourished by diffusion from the dermis. The main type of cells which make up the epidermis are keratinocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells and Merkel cells. The dermis lies below the epidermis and contains a number of structures including blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, smooth muscle, glands and lymphatic tissue. It consists of two layers: the papillary region and the reticular region.

The hypodermis (or subcutaneous layer) is not part of the skin, and lies below the dermis. Its purpose is to attach the skin to underlying bone and muscle as well as supplying it with blood vessels and nerves. It consists mainly of fat cells (adipose tissue).

The integumentary system is an organ system consisting of the skin, hair, nails, and exocrine glands. The skin is only a few millimeters thick yet is by far the largest organ in the body. The average square inch of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than 1,000 nerve endings.[1]

The integumentary system has a variety of functions; it may be classified as a protective organ system [2] since one of its main roles is to protect the body from external damage. This system provides thermal regulation; prevents water loss; and protects the body from injury. Also, it serves as an excretory organ through sweat glands.

Skin has pigmentation, which provides coloration to the skin and protects against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Hair gives mechanical protection to certain parts of the body. Nails protect the dorsal aspects of the terminal phalanges.[1]

The skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system, and it

protects the body from various kinds of damage, such as loss of water or

abrasion from outside. It also has multiple other functions; it can serve

as an immunologic shield (our first line of defense against infection), it

can synthesize vitamin D, and it can regulate body temperature.

Skin is composed of three layers: epidermis (outermost layer), dermis (middle layer), and subcutaneous tissue (innermost layer). These layers are not completely distinct from each other, but they are different enough to be described separately.

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