December Orange: Know the types of skin cancer and how to avoid them

December Orange: Know the types of skin cancer and how to avoid Them

For most people, New Year is synonymous with vacation, beach and therefore very sunny. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays, however, is the main cause of skin cancer.

Aiming to alert the public about the dangers of exposure to the sun without adequate protection, the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD) created the campaign in December Orange, which uses precisely this period that exposure to ultraviolet rays increases enough to raise awareness the public about the importance of enjoying the beach season safely.

Surely you’ve heard some dermatologists say that taking too much sun, especially at times when he is stronger, it is bad for your health. But do you know what types of skin cancer and what you can do to avoid them?

Thinking about it, we created this post with key information on the subject. In this way, you can learn a bit more about skin cancer, Orange December and what to do to enjoy the holiday without jeopardizing their health .

Are you interested? Then follow the text and have a good reading!

After all, what is skin cancer?

According to data from the National Cancer Institute (Inca), skin cancer is the most common in Brazil, corresponding to 30% of malignant tumors registered in the country . Yes, he’s even ahead of breast cancer, the most common 2nd in the country.

Skin cancer is nothing more than the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that make up the skin. Like any epithelial cell can give rise to cancer, there are several types of skin cancer, you will know in greater detail below.

As skin cancer?

Unlike other malignant tumors, skin cancer has no symptoms, but signs. Therefore, the appearance of lesions that grow, change color, itch, bleed or upset may be indicative of the onset of the disease.

Most cases of skin cancer is linked to excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds. The unprotected exposure harm the skin and can cause cellular changes that lead to the problem.

The disease usually reach more men than women. Age is also a risk factor. Therefore, skin cancer is more easily seen after 45 years, since the longer the person has been exposed to sunlight, the greater the chances of developing the problem.

Nevertheless, it is very important that the care with exposure to the sun begin well before. According to experts, although the protection should extend the right of all life, it is important to take extra care from 0 to 25 years of age, since what happens in this age group with our skin determines what we will happen in the future term damage.

People with skin, eyes and light hair have more chances of developing the disease as well as those who have albinism, freckles and many spots around the body.

Another important point is to pay attention is the family history: If someone in your family has had skin cancer, it is important to redouble care when exposed to the sun and keep an eye out for the appearance of any new lesions on the skin.

Finally, the problem may also occur more often in people whose immune system is weakened, including those with leukemia or lymphoma, those taking medication suppressing the immune system or who has undergone an organ transplant.

What types of skin cancer?

In general, there are two types of skin cancer: non-melanoma and melanoma.

aggressive least not melanoma is responsible for 95% of cases of disease incidence and is directly related to sun exposure. Skin cancer melanoma can not present tumors of different strains, which we detail below.

Already melanoma, although more rare (it accounts for only 5% of cases), is more aggressive because it presents more complication risks and metastasis, or spread to other body organs.

Let’s understand each?

nonmelanoma skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma

Also known as basalioma or basal cell epithelioma, basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for about 70% of all cases.


Usually, most of the injuries related to this cancer appears on the face or areas of skin damaged by the sun.

Although it may be manifested in several ways, their most typical initial display is in the form of a small pink or translucent injury, pearly appearance, smooth and shiny, with blood vessels on the surface and slow and progressive growth.

Another possibility is that the basal cell carcinoma is presented in the form of dark spots that develop bleeding wound when suffering minor injuries (for example, when dry with a towel after taking a bath).

In its most aggressive form, this type of skin cancer penetrates the tissues deeply and has great destructive potential, especially to reach the nose or eyes area.

It is a slow-growing cancer, which rarely suffers metastases, although it can destroy tissue around it and achieve cartilage and bone.

So it is very important to pay attention to those wounds that never heal or injuries that arise without apparent explanation and bleed quite easily. If you notice something, it is important to seek a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Risk factors

Basal cell carcinoma is most common after age 40, especially in light-skinned people.

Its appearance is directly related to cumulative and prolonged skin exposure to the sun without adequate protection. So the best way to guard against the disease is even using sun protection.

squamous cell carcinoma

Second most common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, also known as espinalioma or squamous cell carcinoma, accounts for 20-25% of cases.


This cancer can appear completely healthy skin areas or those that are compromised by some other process, such as burn scars, chronic wounds or injuries caused by the solar radiation effects, such as actinic keratoses.

The lesions usually appear mainly on the face, on the outside of the arms and other areas continuously exposed to the sun.

However, squamous cell carcinoma can also affect other parts of the body and to mucous membranes such as lips and genitals, or send metastases to other organs if not treated early, since their growth is much faster than basal cell carcinoma.

The lesions usually begin small and hardened and, in a few months can reach several centimeters. The expansion can be side – that is, by infiltration into the underlying tissues – or up, forming elevated lesions or appearance similar to a cauliflower. It is not uncommon for this type of cancer formed wounds that bleed.

Risk factors

Squamous cell carcinoma is more common in people who are continuously exposed to the sun for prolonged periods without adequate protection. So, to protect yourself from sunlight remains the best way to avoid the problem.

In addition, early treatment of lesions that can lead to cancer, such as actinic keratoses, are essential to prevent disease.

If you find any suspicious lesion, see a dermatologist. The earlier the problem is detected and treated, the lower the chances of involvement of other organs – which greatly increases the chances of cure.

melanoma skin cancer

This is undoubtedly the most dangerous skin cancer, since it has a high potential to metastasize, ie sending tumor cells to other organs, including causing the patient’s death in severe cases.

However, it is one of the less common types of skin cancer, accounting for about 5% of cases.


Melanoma originates in melanocytes, which are cells responsible for producing the pigment that gives color to the skin. The disease can occur in healthy areas of skin or on pre-existing pigmented lesions such as moles and dark signals.

Typically, the tumor starts with a dark lesion, which increases in size, either in extension or depth. There may also be changes to its original color, appearance of spots around the initial injury, formation of wounds, bleeding, and other symptoms such as itching, pain or inflammation.

Ideally, the diagnosis is performed even in the early stage when the tumor is still flat and is restricted to the most superficial layer of the skin and does not spread to other organs. At this stage, the disease has a high cure rate.

Injuries that are no longer flat and gain elevation on the skin indicates that the problem is progressing in depth. The thicker and deep injury, the more severe it is, since it increases the risk of metastasis. In most cases, metastatic melanoma is incurable.

The ABCD rule

In general, the melanoma lesions are easily recognizable when observed spots, blemishes and lesions that appear on the skin taking into account four main factors, also known as ABCD rule:

  • Asymmetry: if the lesion is irregular in shape, that is, one half is quite different from each other;
  • jagged edges: if the lesion has irregular outer limits, or poorly defined contours, with peaks and valleys;
  • staining varied: if the lesion is not uniform with respect to color, or varying shades features;
  • diameter: if the lesion has larger than 6mm, or which is equivalent to the diameter of a pencil.

Moreover, it is not uncommon that experts recommend to patients include an E, changes in the ABCD rule. In practice, this means staying alert to any change in old injuries, such as changing color or size, bleeding and itching.

Risk factors

Melanoma is more common in people with lighter skin, although it can occur in areas of skin that are not often exposed to the sun, its incidence is higher in the exposed skin strips to sunlight, such as face, arms and back.

The lentigo maligna, flat tumor that appears most often on the face and other areas of high sun exposure, is more common in acimas people 60 years of age.

However, the problem can affect people of all ages. The best way to prevent and adequately protect all times for sunning.

Moreover, as early diagnosis is crucial in the success of treatment, it is important to pay attention to the appearance of any stain or damage the skin and immediately seek a dermatologist.

Other cancers

Besides those already mentioned, there are other types of skin cancer. These are rare tumors which affect other cells. To know:

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma;
  • sebaceous carcinoma, which arises in the sebaceous glands;
  • Merkel cell tumor;
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which is actually a cancer of the lymphatic system that can attack the skin;
  • Microcystic adnexal carcinoma, which arises in the sweat glands.

Is there a treatment for skin cancer?

Yes! The good news is that there is treatment for skin cancer.

Furthermore, when diagnosed at early stages, even melanoma survival rate is over 10 years of over 90%. If discovered in advanced stages, however, this percentage drops to 15%.

The most appropriate treatment for skin cancer varies according to the type and extent of the problem. Let’s meet some of the most common?

Curettage and electrocautery

Typically, this type of technique is used in the treatment of superficial tumors smaller and more. During the procedure, a doctor performs a scraping of the lesion with a curette. Further, an electronic scalpel destroys cancer cells.

excisional surgery

It is not only the removal of the tumor, but also an additional edge healthy skin, for security, using a scalpel. Used mainly in cases of recurrent tumors, the technique has high cure rates.


In this technique, the tumor is destroyed by freezing with liquid nitrogen to -50 ℃. Despite having a lower cure rate than surgical excision, cryosurgery appears as a good option in cases of less extensive or recurrent tumors.

Mohs micrographic surgery

This is a procedure that removes tumor steps to be examined immediately under a microscope. The procedure is repeated until no traces of cancer cells.

With this technique, it is possible to preserve much of healthy tissues. Therefore, it is often indicated for cases in which tumors are poorly delimited or in critical areas.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

In this technique, a photosensitizing agent is used in the tumor cells. Then the areas to be treated are exposed to a light that activates the photosensitizer and this destroys the tumor, causing only minimal damage to healthy tissue. The procedure is suitable only for the cases of the superficial tumors.


Is the application via oral or intravenous drug with intent to destroy cancer cells that were not removed by surgery. Can cause a number of side effects such as nausea and hair loss.


The technique uses X-rays directly on the lesion in order to kill cancer cells that were not removed by surgery.

biological therapy

It is the administration of drugs like vemurafenib, or Nivolumab Ipilimumab, which help in strengthening the immune system so that it is able to kill cancer cells that were not removed by surgery.

How to prevent skin cancer?

Now that you know a little more about the existing types of skin cancer and how you can identify them early, it is important to better understand how it is possible to prevent the disease. See the main precautions you can take:

  • avoid exposing them to sunlight – although be in a shaded area – between 10h and 16h;
  • use hat or cap and shirt whenever sun exposure;
  • when you’re on the beach or at the pool, prefer to take shelter in tents made of cotton or canvas, which absorb 50% of ultraviolet rays. Avoid bags that allow the passage of up to 95% of UV rays;
  • use sunscreen daily, not just when the beach or pool;
  • Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and whose sun protection factor (SPF) is at least 30;
  • apply the product at least 40 minutes before sun exposure;
  • reapply the product every time when wet or at least every 2 hours when outdoors;
  • take extra care with the skin of babies and children. If take them to the beach or the pool, reapply the specific sunscreen to their skin at regular intervals;
  • Make sure that the product was applied in all areas such as the chest and foot area behind the ear;
  • do not make use of artificial tanning chambers;
  • regularly check her body and the children in search of moles or suspicious lesions and seek a dermatologist immediately if you find something;
  • habit to make a routine appointment with a dermatologist at least 1 time per year.

What is the Orange December?

To try to reduce cancer statistics higher incidence of the Brazilian population and educate the public about the importance of prevention, the Brazilian Society of Dermatology created in 2014, an annual movement to combat skin cancer in December called Orange.

The set of actions that are performed in the last month of the year, aims to encourage the public in the prevention and diagnosis of skin cancer through activities such as lighting of monuments and several public awareness initiatives on beaches and parks. The distribution of sunscreen, for example, is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of disease.

In addition, the Orange December also invests in public education about the importance of being attentive to the appearance of lesions in the body that grow, change color, itch or bleed and the need to seek a dermatologist so he can make a correct diagnosis of the problem .


As you can see, the keyword for skin cancer is prevention! As in most cases the problem is caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays, it is essential that you protect yourself properly when sunbathing.

So, avoid exposure to the sun between 10h and 16h and do not forget to use sunscreen daily, not only when the beach or the pool. Also, choose a filter that protects against both UVA and against UVB rays and sun protection factor at least 30.

Take extra care with children. Do not forget to buy a specific sunscreen to their age and reapply it constantly. Make sure that the product has reached areas which tend to be unprotected, as the area behind the ears and the balls of the feet.

Do not forget that early diagnosis is critical to increase the healing chances of skin cancer. So periodically examine your body and that of their children in search of spots, moles or suspicious lesions and search a dermatologist as soon as possible if you find something!

To increase public awareness about the importance of prevention, the Brazilian Society of Dermatology created the Orange December. The movement to combat skin cancer promotes during the last month of the year, a series of actions to alert the public about the disease.

We like to understand a little more about the types of skin cancer and how you can avoid them? So be sure to subscribe now to our newsletter to receive in your email interesting content about health!


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