Medical professional warns against rise of skin cancer in the UAE
Skin cancer represents one of the most common male malignancies in the UAE with a 14.5% prevalence rate .
The reason for the high incidence of skin cancer in the UAE is not clear.“Early diagnosis increases survival rates,” says Dr. Khashayar Ghiassi, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centers
The United Arab Emirates, 12th February 2019: Taking into account the epidemiologic trends of skin cancer around the world and the region, there is a need to control the increasing incidence and subsequent socioeconomic burden. Efforts towards this aim include optimization of the registration standards and development of efficient primary and secondary prevention strategies.
Dr. Khashayar Ghiassi, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centers said, “In the UAE, skin cancer represents one of the most common male malignancies with a prevalence rate of 14.5%. Though it’s not entirely clear what the reason is for the increased incidence locally, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet light, which is in sunlight, is the main cause of skin cancer. The annual rates of all forms of skin cancer are increasing each year, representing a growing public concern.”
One in every three cancers diagnosed globally is skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
“The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal. Unexplained changes in the appearance of the skin lasting longer than two weeks should be immediately evaluated,” added Dr. Ghiassi.
The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. These cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Dr. Ghiassi noted, “If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.”
The risk of skin cancer depends on the skin type, he explained. There are six skin types with type one classified as the fairest skin that always burns, but never tans, and type six as dark or black skin that never burns, but always tans. “In the UAE, we see all skin types, thus skin cancers are not uncommon. The incidence of skin cancer is higher among those with fair skin,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says some individual risk factors for skin cancer include fair skin, blue, green or hazel eyes, light-colored hair, tendency to burn rather than suntan, history of severe sunburns, many moles, freckles and a family history of skin cancer.
“Early diagnosis increases survival rates. Skin cancer found and removed early are almost always curable. At Medcare, we highly urge individuals to conduct skin cancer screening regularly. The process is a visual inspection of the skin without any blood work included. Screening and self-exams for melanomas should be a priority for everyone,” concluded Dr. Ghiassi.