According to data from the Ministry of Health and Turkish Cancer Statistics, the incidence of skin cancer (number of new cases) is increasing every year in Turkey. prof. dr. Necmettin Akdeniz gave information about skin cancer.
Skin cancer is more common in the Mediterranean region
Skin cancer is a common cancer worldwide. Although the incidence varies from country to country, it is more common in areas with high sun exposure. Skin cancer is a form of cancer associated with factors such as prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. The sunny climate in Turkey can increase the risk of skin cancer. The most current data on skin cancer frequency in Turkey is based on 2021 and there is currently no more recent epidemiological study on this topic. However, it is known that the number of cases of skin cancer in general is increasing worldwide. Skin cancer cases are also on the rise in Turkey, with a higher incidence, especially in the Mediterranean region.
Sun protection is very important
It is important to take precautions such as protecting yourself from sunlight, using sunscreen and staying in the shade to avoid skin cancer. In addition, regular skin examinations are important for early diagnosis and treatment. The main risk factors for skin cancer are prolonged exposure to sunlight and a history of frequent sunburns. Other factors may include genetic predisposition, light skin color, aging, immunosuppression, and exposure to certain chemicals.
Take these precautions to prevent skin cancer
• Protect yourself from the sun. It is important not to be exposed to the sun during peak hours, wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen.
• Follow-up of wounds and lesions. It is important to monitor the changes of wounds, spots or moles on the skin and to have regular skin examinations.
• Avoid smoking and alcohol. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of skin cancer, so these habits should be avoided.
• Have regular (annual) skin examinations.
Treatment is planned individually with specialists in dermatology and oncology.
Skin cancer treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, the extent of its spread, and the patient’s general health. Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies. The treatment is determined by a dermatologist (specialist in skin disorders) and in advanced cases together with oncology doctors.
Misinformation about skin cancer is common
Some common misconceptions about skin cancer include:
Myth: “Only sunburn causes skin cancer”
It’s true: Sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer, but skin cancer isn’t just caused by sunburn. Other factors also play a role, such as genetic factors, aging, light skin color, immune system weakness.
False: “Only moles can turn into cancer”
Fact: Some melanomas (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) can be caused by moles. However, skin cancer can arise from any skin lesion, meaning that in addition to moles, sores, lesions, or areas of normal skin can become cancerous.
Myth: “Use of the tanning bed reduces the risk of skin cancer”
Fact: Conversely, using tanning beds or tanning beds (artificial tanning with tanning beds) increases the risk of skin cancer. Because these devices emit UV radiation, they increase the risk of skin cancer.
Myth: “Skin cancer only affects older people”
It’s true: old age increases the risk of skin cancer, but younger people can also get skin cancer. Melanoma, in particular, can occur in young adults and even children.
Mistake: “Use of sunscreen completely prevents skin cancer”
That’s right: Sunscreens can help protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays, but they don’t completely prevent cancer. It is important to use it in combination with other methods of contraception.
Mistake: “Touching a blade to the cancerous area, having it removed, having surgery causes it to spread”
True: This idea is very wrong and dangerous. Early treatment of skin cancer saves lives. When it is delayed, dissemination occurs, that is, metastasis. Treatment becomes more difficult.