Skin Cancer vs Age Spots

Age spots are a very common skin condition. These brown spots of pigmentation can affect people of any age and affect both males and females. One of the main worries about age spots is the fear that they can lead to skin cancer. Many people who suffer from age spots are concerned about the effect on their health more than the signs of aging. The truth however is that there is no evidence to suggest that age spots turn into skin cancer.

What are age spots?

Age spots mainly affect adults. Those who are aging are the ones that are most affected. As one grows older, the skin condition comes up. This often happens if the affected individual had been exposed excessively to the sun while he or she was younger. As one grows older, the outer part of the skin gets thinner and this makes the skin more susceptible to the development of age spots. Excessive exposure to the sun makes more melanin, which is the pigment for skin color, to be produced. This leads to the production of more age spots.

Age spots occur on thin part of the skin and those parts that are consistently exposed to the sun. Since the back of the hand is such a place, it is very common to have age spots on hands.

What about cancer?

Skin cancer can be caused by overexposure to the sun and the skin condition is called actinic keratosis. Actinic keratosis begins as a small red crusty spot on the skin and is usually itchy. The edges are also irregular. These precancerous lesions can bleed and be sore. Cancer does not remain on the outer surface of the body like age spots, but it tends to extend into internal parts of the body. Skin cancer is common on several parts of the body like the face, the arms, the scalp, the back, the ears and the neck. These are places regularly exposed to the sun, and places we usually forget to apply sunscreen. Skin cancer is very common on the ears and scalp of men as a woman’s hair offers more protection to these areas.

Any link between the two?

As it had been mentioned, age spots are not harmful but cancer is. There is also no possibility of age spots leading to cancer. Anyone entertaining this kind of fear should stop worrying. While an age spot remains on the surface, cancer does not; it transcends the skin surface and enters into the body system.

Although age spots do not lead to cancer, they are thought to be related because they affect the same people due to them both being caused by sun exposure.

While a person may not bother about treating an age spot, anyone suspecting they have a precancerous lesion should get it treated by a doctor immediately. Age spots are completely harmless, but skin cancer is dangerous to your health, and can even be fatal. If quickly treated, cancer can be taken care of while it is still localized on the skin.

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