Skin cancer is among the most diagnosed cancers each year. Three commonly diagnosed skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.
The most common kind of skin cancer is called Basal Cell Carcinoma. This type of cancer is slow growing and typically occurs in patients that are 40 or older. Basal cells are ordinary skin cells that can later become cancerous, commonly on parts of the body that are often exposed to the sun. Patients with a lighter complexion are more likely to develop this form of cancer. Although Basal Cell Carcinoma can spread, it is not common for it to spread throughout the entire body. A symptom of this cancer is having a skin lesion that looks shiny and pink. It can also be slightly raised or flat on the skin.
Another form of skin cancer that develops in the middle layer of the skin is known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This type can spread throughout the body and is generally more aggressive than Basal Cell Carcinoma. This cancer is more likely to occur in those 50 or older and can appear to be a rapid pink growth that is hard.
Melanoma, although not as common as Basal Cell or Squamous Cell Carcinoma, is the most concerning skin cancer, with high morbidity and mortality rates. Melanoma tends to be dark and can develop from an existing mole. Depending on the kind of melanoma involved, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation can be possible treatments for Melanoma.
Self skin checks are important as early detection is key to getting the best outcome from treatments of skin cancers. However, some lesions can be misinterpreted and some parts of the body are not accessible to patients. This is why it is very important you have your annual skin check with your dermatologist.
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