Cancer develops when DNA, the molecule found in cells that encodes genetic information, becomes damaged and the body cannot repair the damage. These damaged cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably. When this occurs in the skin, skin cancer develops. As the damaged cells multiply, they form a tumor. Since skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis, the outermost layers of skin, a tumor is usually clearly visible. This makes most skin cancers detectable in the early stages.
A precancerous lesion is a change in some areas of your skin that carries the risk of turning into skin cancer. lt is a preliminary stage of cancer. These precancerous lesions can have several causes; UV radiation, genetics, exposure to such cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) as arsenic, tar or x-ray radiation.
Some things to watch for:
- Actinic Keratosis
- Atypical or Dysplastic Nevi (funny looking moles)
- Premalignant Lentigos
Because precancerous lesions can turn into skin cancer and since skin cancer can possibly lead to death it is very important to catch skin cancer at an early stage. If you discover any suspicious lesion take it seriously and seek the advice of a dermatologist.