Preventing Prostate Cancer
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Prostate cancer is unfortunately a very common occurrence. But your risk can be minimized. Watch this for tips on preventing prostate cancer.
Transcript: Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men-but what if you could take steps to prevent...
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men-but what if you could take steps to prevent it? Cancer is scary, but-believe it!-you can take positive steps to protect your prostate by logging more sex sessions! Researchers found that men, who averaged 21 ejaculations a month, were a third less likely to have prostate cancer, than those who ejaculated less frequently. That's because semen contains carcinogenic, or cancer causing, substances. "Flushing" them regularly may lower the risk of damage. And how about upping your alcoholic intake...to a daily glass of wine! One study found that the antioxidants in fermented grapes can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and cut prostate cancer risk in half! The hair-loss treatment, Propecia, generically called finasteride, may also help reduce the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Finasteride blocks the production of an undesirable hormone that triggers hair-loss and prostate growthFollow these tips, and your prostate will have extra protection against cancer!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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One in six men will develop prostate cancer during his life. But there are simple steps to help in preventing prostate cancer. Watch this to see what they are.
Transcript: One in six men will develop prostate cancer during his life. This may seem scary, but here are some...
One in six men will develop prostate cancer during his life. This may seem scary, but here are some simple steps that can help keep you safe! One of the easiest ways to protect your prostate is a lot of fun... get spicy and get saucy! A daily intake of just three cloves of garlic, or two tablespoons of scallions, can cut cancer risk in half! And two weekly helpings of tomato sauce can slice risk by almost thirty percent! Why? Antioxidants like lycopene in tomatoes and organo-sulfur compounds in garlic get credit for these food's abilities to fight cancer-causing cell damage. After your delicious Italian meal, enjoy a cup of green or black tea with dessert, another proven prostate cancer-fighter. And while it's not preventative, it IS smart: Make sure to see your doctor for annual prostate exams after your 40th birthday. Caught quickly, almost 100 percent of prostate cancers are curable-a statistic sure to make it easier to endure that gloved finger!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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The prostate--you know its name but you might not know its function. Learn more about the prostate and what it's good for by watching this video.
Transcript: Just like all men have penises, all men have prostates, but most are more acquainted with the former!...
Just like all men have penises, all men have prostates, but most are more acquainted with the former! The prostate is a walnut-sized organ which can be both a pleasure center and a place where cancer can reside. The prostate is located between the bladder and the penis in the front of the rectum. The urethra, which carries urine from the bladder through the penis, passes through the prostate's center. The nerves that control erection are attached to both sides of the prostate, as they extend to the penis. The prostate produces seminal fluid, which nourishes and "carries" sperm. Male ejaculate, or semen, is a mixture of this seminal fluid and sperm. The prostate is surrounded by sensitive nerves, which is why some men enjoy anal play. The organ is also the location where prostate cancer, one of the most common forms of the disease, shows up. So, particularly if you're a male over 40, get your prostate checked annually-it can only do you good!More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Something like 6 million people in the US have HPV. Because it is so common, understanding HPV symptoms and risks is vital to initial detection. Learn more about this condition by watching this video.
Transcript: Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million...
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million American men and women each year. About 40 of the more than 100 varieties are transmitted through sexual contact. There is no cure for HPV, but most infections clear without treatment in mere months. There are, however, several high-risk strains that can linger, causing precancerous lesions or full-blown cancer. These require immediate medical attention to control. The 40 strains of HPV that affect the genitals are passed through sexual contact. Symptoms do not need to be present to pass the virus to another person. HPV can be passed to and from the skin of the penis, vulva, or anus, as well as the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. In rare cases, genital HPV can also be passed from mother to child during a vaginal birth. Since most strains have adapted to specific areas of the body, not all contact is a potential way to spread HPV. Hand-to-genital contact, for example, is unlikely to infect the hand. The most obvious symptom of genital HPV is warts. These pink or flesh-colored swellings are soft to the touch and may be flat or raised. Most genital warts are cauliflower shaped, or lumpy, with irregular edges. Genital warts can range in size. Some people have just one or two, while others experience multiple warts in one area. More likely, however, a sufferer of genital HPV will have no symptoms of the virus at all, and will remain unaware that he or she is infected. Whether symptoms of HPV appear or not will vary by strain. The type of genital HPV that causes warts, for example, wont also cause cancerous cells to form. But it is possible to be infected with multiple strains of genital HPV. Your doctor can easily diagnose some strains of HPV with visual observation of your warts. Other, symptom-less strains are tougher to discern. For women, a diagnosis of HPV is made with a Pap smear, an internal swab that is part of a normal check-up, and screens for cervical cancer. Many kinds of genital HPV cause precancerous changes in the cervical cells, prompting an abnormal test result. Following an abnormal result, the swabbed cells will be tested for HPV DNA to confirm the particular strain of the disease. Men, however, are out of luck when it comes to HPV screeningthere are currently no tests available for them. Without any visible warts, men must rely on regular physical examinations by a doctor to spot precancerous cells and growths. Although genital HPV is a commonand often symptom-free STDit can lead to serious health problems. For this reason, regular check-ups and smart sexual practices are vital once a person becomes sexually active.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious health problems in men and women if left untreated. Watch this video to learn more about HPV and how to avoid it.
Transcript: The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an extremely common viral infection. There are about 40 varieties...
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an extremely common viral infection. There are about 40 varieties that infect the genitals and which can be passed through sexual contact, even if a person is not exhibiting symptoms. Genital HPV's effects on health can be severe and will vary depending on the HPV strain, and by the strength of the patient's immune system. After a person contracts HPV, his or her body develops some immunity to it. That immune response often squashes symptoms should a person be re-infected, or if the infection lingers. Each strain of HPV has a particular effect on the body. The one that causes genital warts, for example, doesn't cause precancerous lesions. But it IS possible to be infected with multiple strains of genital HPV at the same time. Some strains of the virus don't have an impact in the body. With no symptoms, a person may not even know they have HPV. Other strains produce genital warts, which may appear as a single swelling or a rash. These pink or flesh-colored bumps are usually soft to the touch. Most have a unique cauliflower-like shape that is raised and bumpy. Warts can appear on the thighs, anus and groin area in both men and women. Men can develop them on the penis and scrotum, while women may get warts inside the vagina and cervix. Genital warts are generally harmless.However, more severe health problems will follow from infection with one of the 13 "high risk" strains of genital HPV. These strains cause cell changes in the genital area. If someone contracts high-risk strains repeatedly, or develops a lingering infection, the long-term damage can prompt precancerous or cancerous tumor growths to form. In women, persistent genital HPV infections are a precursor to both cervical and vaginal cancers. In fact, a person cannot contract these cancers unless they've had genital HPV. Cervical cancer starts out as a collection of precancerous cells, a condition called dysplasia. As the cells multiply, mild dysplasia increases in severity. Left unchecked for several years, dysplasia develops into an early form of cancer called cervical carcinoma in situ, and then cervical cancer. A Pap smear can detect even mild dysplasia, which usually can be fully treated...This is just one more reason for women to have an annual Pap smear! In rare cases, prolonged infections in men can also lead to penile cancer. Both men and women are also susceptible to cancers of the anus, mouth and throat as a result of repeated infections with the HPV strains targeting these areas. This means that anal and oral sex aren't without HPV risks. If an HPV infection is caught early, a doctor can begin treatments to prevent precancerous growths from becoming cancerous. Genital HPV has no cure, but its symptoms can be treated. For this reason, it's important to talk to your doctor about safe sex and STD testing.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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Over 50 percent of the adult population experience HPV during their lifetime. However, treatment of HPV is simple and effective. Find out more in this video.
Transcript: The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common STD which affects more than 50 percent of sexually active...
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common STD which affects more than 50 percent of sexually active Americans at some point in their lifetimes. Different strains of the virus lead to different problems, from uncomfortable genital warts to serious genital cancer. Even more commonly, HPV causes no problems and clears up on its own. Through preventative measures, you can limit your risk for contracting genital HPV. This starts with an understanding that a symptom-free partner isn't necessarily HPV-free. That's why it's important to practice protected sex. A latex condom limits skin-to-skin contact, reducing transmission risk. However, condoms are not 100 percent effective at stopping the spread of HPV. Some strains can be passed by contact between parts that would not be protected by a condom. One extremely effective preventative measure, which is only available for women and girls between the ages of nine and 26, is vaccination with Gardasil. This three-part vaccine protects against infection from HPV strains that cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and anal cancer. If a person DOES contract genital HPV, the virus cannot be cured, but the SYMPTOMS often can. Some strains of HPV cause no symptoms and require no treatment, while others need a doctor's care. Genital warts are the most visible symptom of HPV and generally require prescription medication. Applied daily, creams like Condylox and Aldara boost the immune system to help fight off the virus and eliminate the warts. A doctor may also remove warts via an in-office procedure. Freezing with liquid nitrogen, burning with trichloracetic acid or electrical currents, and surgical removal with a scalpel or laser are all relatively painless options. Of these, surgical excision is often the most effective, usually requiring just one in-office treatment. Regular doctor's visits are a must for the effective treatment of high-risk genital HPV strains, which cause precancerous and cancerous growths. Treatment is more effective if the virus is caught early. For women, this means undergoing an annual Pap smear, a test which screens for cervical cancer. HPV can cause cell changes in the cervix, which show up as an abnormal result on this test. There are no screening tests for men, however regular physical examinations can lead to early diagnosis of penile cancer. Following an abnormal Pap smear or visual confirmation of a tumor, a doctor aims to remove the abnormal cells affected by genital HPV BEFORE they become cancerous. How a doctor removes the abnormal cells varies. She may freeze the cells with liquid nitrogen, excise them with an electrical current, or perform a biopsy, where the cells are removed during surgery. On occasion, precancerous cell changes can heal without treatment, so some doctors may opt to watch and wait for a time before attempting to remove the cells. If you're infected with HPV, you are part of the majority! Luckily, treatments are available to help with HPV's range of symptoms, so talk to your doctor about your choices.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-25 | Tags »
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Breast reconstruction is common after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Watch this for more on breast reconstruction surgery.
Transcript: Techniques for breast reconstruction has come a long way, and this video is a great place to get acquainted...
Techniques for breast reconstruction has come a long way, and this video is a great place to get acquainted with the most modern advances. Wendy Lewis, an international beauty consultant and expert, and author of America's Cosmetic Doctors, is here to help you navigate the newest developments. Women with congenital breast deformities as well as women who have undergone a lumpectomy or a mastectomy can often suffer considerably from the physical and psychological implications of their condition. Breast reconstruction is an umbrella term which describes a variety of surgical methods designed to help the recovery of such women. Breast reconstruction can be performed in conjunction with a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, or can be delayed for weeks or even years after the initial procedure. Breasts can be reconstructed using an implant, your own tissue or a combination of both. Surgery is usually not a one-time procedure, but rather a series of necessary steps to achieve the final result. Potential stages might include tissue expansion, insertion of an implant, and performing nipple or areola reconstruction. Cosmetic work on the other breast may also be done at the same time so that your breasts will appear symmetrical and identical. After a mastectomy, if your skin is very tight you may need tissue expansion prior to reconstruction. To do this, a balloon expander is placed under the skin and chest muscle, and is gradually filled with salt-water solution to stretch the skin. The process will take from several weeks to a few months, at which point either the expander will be left in or it will be replaced with a permanent implant, and the areola can be reconstructed. Another method of breast reconstruction involves the grafting of your own tissue onto the breast and then reconnecting the blood vessels contained in the tissue to the grafting site. The advantage of this surgery is that your own skin will be used, however it is more complex and involves additional scarring and a longer recovery period, since there are two surgical sites that must heal. Women undergoing breast reconstruction have a choice of implants filled with silicone gel or sterile saltwater. In most cases, surgery can be performed in the hospital or an outpatient surgery center. Recovery may take up to two weeks. For best results, breast reconstruction should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. You should see several surgeons to discuss all your options before undergoing breast cancer surgrey so you know what to expect. When performed by an expert surgeon, your breasts can be beautifully restored to look very natural. While there is no evidence that reconstructive breast surgery will either prevent future cancer or cause it to return, you should continue to visit your doctor for regular mammograms to keep your new breasts healthy. For more on what to expect during breast reconstruction, check out the other resources on our site.More »
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It can be scary to find a new lesion or an expanding mole on your body. Which growths are serious and which aren't? Watch our Skin Cancer: Examining Skin Growth video to learn more.
Transcript: It can be frightening to find a strange-looking lesion or an expanding mole on your body! In this video,...
It can be frightening to find a strange-looking lesion or an expanding mole on your body! In this video, dermatologist Hadley King discusses what might be happening on your skin. There are three main types of skin cancer and each looks a little bit different. Skin Cancer can be fatal if allowed to spread to the body's vital organs. That's why every suspicious looking growth should be examined by a dermatologist. The main forms of skin cancer include melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. In addition, precancerous lesions, known as actinic keratoses, can also appear on the skin. If left untreated, actinic keratoses, or AKs, can develop into the skin cancer squamous cell carcinoma. That's why it's important to identify AKs early. AKs do vary in appearance. They can range in size from that of a pinhead to a quarter, and in color from light tan to red. Occasionally, a raised growth, called a cutaneous horn, will form. Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is the most common form of skin cancer. It can crop up in a variety of ways and is sometimes confused for other skin conditions, like melanoma or a mild rash. I used to be obsessed with tanning-I was always at the local pool! Then one day, my husband noticed a small red patch on my skin. We thought it was a rash, but it didn't go away, so I went to see a dermatologist. Turns out, I had basal cell carcinoma! I was lucky that my doctor diagnosed and treated me quickly. A BCC tumor will often appear as a smooth, round growth that's pearly gray or yellow and may bleed regularly. A pimple-like growth with a crusted surface and a threadlike border is also indicative of a BCC. A basal cell carcinoma can also appear as a scar-like growth that spreads rapidly. The second type of non-melanoma skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, can begin as an AK lesion. However, SCC typically shows up as a wart-like growth that is thick and rough. SCC tumors may have a crusty top that occasionally bleeds. This type of cancer can also manifest as an open sore that bleeds for weeks at a time. The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. If left untreated and allowed to spread, melanoma can result in death. Usually, this type of cancer shows up as a new mole, or as a mole that changes in appearance. Any mole that changes in color or grows bigger should be checked out by a dermatologist. In addition, a mole that has uneven borders or appears to be asymmetrical can be a melanoma. While a mole on its own is not necessarily cancerous, it's important to be aware that people with more than 50 of these growths are more likely to be candidates for melanoma. If diagnosed early, most skin cancers can be treated! But because it's very difficult to Identify skin lesions, talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in the appearance or texture of your skin.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses, crop up on millions of Americans every year. Let's take a closer look at AKs.
Transcript: More than ten million Americans have pre-cancerous growths, known as actinic keratoses, on their skin....
More than ten million Americans have pre-cancerous growths, known as actinic keratoses, on their skin. What exactly are actinic keratoses? Actinic keratoses, or AKs, are a common skin condition characterized by rough, scaly patches, on the top layer of skin. AKs occur due to sun exposure over long periods of time. Although AKs are not actually cancer they are classified as the earliest stage in its development. AKs are not always dangerous, but 16 percent of untreated cases will grow into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. All AKs develop from keratinocytes, which are the tough-walled cells that make up 90 percent of the skin's outer layer. Years of sun damage can cause these cells to change in size and shape, resulting in the skin lesions that are characteristic of AKs. AKs usually develop on areas of the skin that receive the most exposure to sunlight. These include the face, ears, scalp, neck, forearms and the backs of hands. Sometimes, lesions appear on the lips, a condition that is called actinic cheilitis. AKs vary in appearance. They can range in size from that of a pinhead to a quarter, and in color from light tan to red. On occasion, a lesion will grow into a small horn, called a cutaneous horn. Almost anyone can get AKs, however some people are more prone to them than others. It is certainly true that those who have spent a great amount of time in the sun are more likely to develop the growths. Because AKs develop with cumulative exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the skin lesions are most often found in people 50 years of age or older. Earlier occurrence is rare and can usually be linked to tanning beds and sunny locations. I spent 52 years working in construction, so I was always outside. Two years ago, a growth appeared on my scalp which wouldn't go away. Luckily, my doctor diagnosed me with actinic keratoses and quickly removed the lesion. People with fair skin, light hair and light eyes are usually more sensitive to the sun's rays, and therefore more likely to develop AKs on their skin. For this reason, individuals with darker skin types rarely develop these lesions. The prevalence of AKs is higher in men than in women. Although no one knows why, it has been theorized that this is due to greater likelihood that men will have outdoor occupations, and thus receive greater sun exposure. A weakened immune system, or immunosuppression, can also increase the odds of developing AKs. Many factors can stifle the immune system, among them: taking medication to prevent organ rejection, chemotherapy and the AIDS virus. Because AKs can progress to become squamous cell carcinoma, it's important for people with AKs to be under a dermatologist's care. A dermatologist will usually be able to treat actinic keratoses safely and effectively, ensuring that you stay healthy. Remember, see your doctor immediately if you have any concerns about your skin.More »
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Treating Actinic Keratoses is very important as it can lead to serious skin problems. Watch this video to find out what common treatment methods are used.
Transcript: Pre-cancerous growths, called actinic keratoses, are the second most frequent reason that Americans visit...
Pre-cancerous growths, called actinic keratoses, are the second most frequent reason that Americans visit dermatologists. Here, we explore the options for treating actinic keratoses. At the first sign of the rough lesions that indicate actinic keratoses, or AKs, it is important to seek treatment from a dermatologist. This is vital, because untreated AKs can become skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Although he is best known as our 41st President, in 2002, George H.W. Bush became one of the millions of people who successfully seek treatment for AKs. The former President underwent cryosurgery, a freezing procedure, to remove lesions on his face. Standard treatment for AKs can be broadly split into two categories: Surgical destruction and medicinal therapy. Common surgical destruction methods include cryosurgery, curettage, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Medical therapies include of Diclofenac sodium gel, Imiquimod, and topical chemotherapy. One of the newest treatment methods, photodynamic therapy, combines both medicinal and surgical therapies. Photodynamic therapy is the destruction of infected cells using a combination of a medication and a light source. When undergoing photodynamic therapy, a patient will start by applying topical medication. Several hours later, a doctor will treat the affected area with a light source. The light interacts with the medication to destroy pre-cancerous cells. The most common treatment for AKs is the one that was used to treat George Bush Senior, cryosurgery. This process is best suited for destroying a few, clearly identified, AKs. Cryosurgery is a freezing procedure where liquid nitrogen is applied to skin lesions with a spraying device. The nitrogen freezes the skin's surface. As the skin heals, AKs are sloughed off. Sometimes, lesions progress to such an advanced state that a procedure called curettage is preformed. When this happens, a patient first receives local anesthesia. Then, a spoon-shaped instrument called a curet is used to scrape off AKs. A similar treatment option that also requires local anesthesia is called dermabrasion. During this procedure, a rapidly moving brush is used to abrade and erode the affected skin cells. Medical therapy for AKs requires a patient to apply a prescription cream to affected areas. The creams differ in method of action and treatment time. The most frequently used medicinal treatment is a cream called 5-Fluoroucracil, or 5-FU. 5-FU destroys AK cells by blocking chemical reactions that are essential for the lesions to survive. It is imperative that pregnant and nursing women avoid using 5-FU cream. Another topical cream, called Imiquimod, must be applied for four to sixteen weeks and modifies the skin's immune system, encouraging it to reject the sun-damaged cells and fight the lesions. Diclofenac sodium gel is another topical medication, which is used to treat multiple AKs. The gel, which destroys AKs, is applied twice a day for two to three monthsAs you can see, there are many effective treatments for actinic keratoses. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist about the advantages and disadvantages of each.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Millions of people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma every year. By better understanding basal cell carcinoma, you can prevent or better treat this condition. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer, with more than 800,000 new cases diagnosed in...
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer, with more than 800,000 new cases diagnosed in America each year. So what is basal cell carcinoma? Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a type of skin cancer. Like other skin cancers, BCC usually results from chronic overexposure to the sun. One of the American Film Institute's "Greatest Stars of All Time," actress Elizabeth Taylor, is perhaps BCC's most famous victim. Elizabeth was known for her bathing suit body, but her chronic sun habit resulted in a cancer diagnosis in 2002. Although BCC can happen to any sun worshiper, certain factors put you at a higher risk for developing the disease.Fair skinned, light-eyed individuals who are over forty tend to be the prime candidates for this type of skin cancer. Historically, men are twice as likely as women to develop basal cell carcinoma. Let's look at how BCC develops on the epidermis, or skin. The epidermis has multiple layers. Repeated exposure to sunlight can cause DNA mutations in the deepest layer, the stratum basalis. The result, an abnormal growth in the epidermis, is basal cell carcinoma. Most BCCs show up on places that are repeatedly exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, shoulders and back. Although growths can vary in appearance, there are several warning signs to look for that may signal the onset of basal cell carcinoma. The most common type of BCC, nodular basal cell carcinoma, usually resembles a smooth, round pimple. Pale yellow or gray in color, nodular tumors may bleed after the slightest injury.Pigmented BCC is similar to nodular BCC, but it is more likely to appear in people with dark hair and dark eyes. These growths are brown or black in color, and can sometimes be mistaken for melanoma, a more aggressive cancer. A less common type of basal cell carcinoma, superficial BCC, is known for its slow spread across the skin. Superficial BCC tumors have slightly crusted surfaces, which are sometimes bordered by tiny threadlike formations. These tumors usually appear on the torso, but can also develop on the face and neck. Another uncommon variant of this cancer is called sclerosing or morpheaform BCC. This type of growth often resembles a scar and can be yellow or white in color. Usually, sclerosing BCCs grow quickly, reaching several centimeters in length over mere months. Additional rare forms of BCC include fibroepithelioma, pinkus lesions that appear on the back, and cystic BCC, a variant of nodular BCC which is filled with a gelatin-like fluid. Basal cell carcinoma tumors can vary greatly in form, so it's imperative that you get your skin checked regularly by a dermatologist.More »
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What is squamous cell carcinoma? This common type of skin cancer affects many, but is largely preventable. Learn to spot the signs.
Transcript: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, affecting 250,000 new Americans...
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, affecting 250,000 new Americans annually. So what is squamous cell carcinoma? Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a type of cancer that forms on the skin's outermost layer. If left untreated and allowed to spread, SCC can cause severe scarring or-in up to 4 percent of cases-death. The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid the sun! Like 90 percent of skin cancers, SCC almost always arises from overexposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Chronic sun exposure isn't the only factor that can make you a more likely candidate to develop SCC. However, knowing if you're a high risk candidate can help you to protect yourself. Unlike the other types of non-melanoma skin cancer, SCC can arise from chronically scarred or inflamed skin. The Human Papaloma Virus, which often causes warts, can also lead to SCCPeople with weakened immune systems, or immunosuppression, have a higher risk of developing SCC. Possible causes of a weak immune system include the HIV virus and organ transplant medication. As with other skin cancers, people with fair skin, light hair and blue or green eyes have a higher risk of developing SCC. Many doctors believe that a family history of the disease, or a personal history of any cancer, may also be factors. SCC crops up most frequently in the male population over forty, so older men need to be extra vigilant about checking their skin for signs of cancerWhile being aware of your risk factors is the first step to keeping yourself safe from SCC, it's also important to know how skin cancer manifests itself and what it looks like. This basic knowledge could save your life! SCCs develop form keratinocytes, the tough-walled cells that make up 90 percent of the skin's outer layer. Years of sun damage can cause these cells to change in size and shape, resulting in the tumors that are characteristic of SCC. Often, SCCs appear first as rough, scaly patches on the skin. These precancerous lesions, known as actinic keratoses, or AKs, can eventually develop into SCCThe typical SCC manifests itself as a new or enlarging tumor that is thick and rough. Most tumors emerge on the head or neck, although any skin can be affected. Squamous cell carcinoma often appears to be a wart-like growth or a scaly, red patch that crusts on the top, and occasionally bleeds. Sometimes, SCC begins as an open sore that continuously bleeds and crusts for weeks at a time without really healing. If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to vital organs and cause death, so it's imperative to see a doctor any time you notice changes in the appearance or texture of your skin.More »
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