If you or your loved one has a skin cancer – Peter Mac is here to help.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. Its main jobs are to:
- keep our body temperature more or less the same
- protect the body from injury and infection
- control fluid loss
- get rid of some waste through sweating.
There are two main layers that make up the skin. They are the:
- epidermis – the outer or topmost layer
- dermis – beneath the epidermis.
Like all body tissues and organs, the skin is made up of tiny ‘building blocks’ called cells. The outer layer, the epidermis, contains three types of cells:
- squamous cells – found at the top most layer of the epidermis. These shed as new ones form.
- basal cells – at the lower part of the epidermis. These cells are always making new cells to replace the squamous cells that shed from the skin. Basal cells move up through the epidermis and eventually become squamous cells.
- melanocyte cells – make the pigment that gives us our skin, hair and eye color. This pigment is called ‘melanin’. When in the sun, melanocytes produce extra melanin to protect all the skin layers from the harmful rays of the sun. This production of extra melanin, is what causes the skin to darken when exposed to the sun.
Skin cancer happens when any one of these cell(s) begins to grow abnormally and out of control. Skin cancers are named after the type of cell from where the abnormal cell growth started.
All different types and tones (colors) of skin can develop skin cancer. Usually, skin cancers develop as a result of too much time in the sun. These cancers usually develop in areas such as:
Sometimes skin cancers grow in areas that hardly see daylight such as palms, beneath nails and sometimes the genital area.