The Canadian Dermatology Association is finding that people in their 20s are now starting to get a common form of skin cancer (basal cell) usually found in those over 50. Basal cell accounts for 80% of all skin cancers which is triggered by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Thus, frequent severe sunburns and intense exposure to the sun during childhood increase the risk of basal cell skin cancer later on. With children getting out in the sun at an earlier age, the potential for developing basal cell skin cancer is simply becoming a fact of life.
Even though basal cell skin cancer is the least dangerous form of skin cancer, it has the potential of causing disfigurement if left untreated. Warning signs include a sore or pimple-like growth that bleeds, crusts over and then reappears, a sore that does not heal within two months, or a small, red, scaling patch. Men are more likely to develop this type of cancer and those with fair skin and blonde or red hair are most at risk. Surgery, scraping, heating (electrodessication), and freezing are the most common forms of treatment.