Skin consists of a variety of cells. We don’t realize it but they are constantly in motion. Squamous cells are on the surface of our skin. Round, basal cells below the surface flatten out as they rise to replace dead, flaking squamous cells. Melanocytes tan and darken the skin when exposed to sunlight to help protect it from damage. Merkel cells give the skin its ability to sense touch.
Over 3 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occur each year. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) represents 80% of the diagnosed cases and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is 20% of the non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is more serious when it metastasizes but it is more rare. There are about 100,000 cases of melanoma cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Melanoma involves the pigment cells (melanocytes) which are usually in the skin, but it can also occur in other parts of the body like the eyes and intestines. People are surprised to learn that melanoma can occur in areas of the body not exposed to sunlight. See the Wellness Support Group webinar on Skin Cancer and the BEC5 Story for pictures of each cancer. In addition, you can reference my book for more information on cancer.
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