Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. There are several types of premalignant and malignant growths of the skin to watch out for.
The population that is most prone to developing skin growths or lesions is a type I skin stereotype composed of people who have a fair complexion, blond or red hair, blue green or grey eyes. The risk of developing skin premalignant or malignant lesions depends on the amount of sun exposure, the geographic location whereby the closer to the equator you live, the more ultraviolet rays your skin will absorb. Men tend to spend more time in the sun and use less sun protection than women and are therefore at higher risk for skin cancers. Darker skin individuals such as African descent, Hispanics and Asian are less susceptible to skin cancers and premalignant lesions.
Changes in the skin surface that lead down the path to cancer begin with premalignant lesions. These growths are a ticking time bomb because of their potential of becoming cancers and therefore require treatment.
Most skin lesions, moles, freckles, and pigmented areas are harmless. It is difficult to tell the difference between pre-malignant skin lesions, skin cancers, and other skin conditions.