The most common cancer in humans, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) develops in more than 1 million people every year in the United States alone. About 80% of all skin cancers are BCC, a cancer that develops in the basal cells - skin cells located in the lowest layer of the epidermis. BCC can appear as a shiny translucent or pearly nodule, a sore that continuously heals and then re-opens, a pink slightly elevated growth, reddish irritated patches of skin, or a waxy scar. Most BCCs appear on skin with a history of exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, scalp, and upper trunk. These tumors tend to grow slowly and can take years to reach ½ inch in size. While these tumors rarely spread to other parts of the body, dermatologists encourage early diagnosis and treatment to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.
About 16% of diagnosed skin cancers are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This cancer begins in the squamous cells, which are found in the upper layer of the epidermis. With about 200,000 cases are diagnosed ever year, SCC tends to develop in fair-skinned middle-aged and elderly people who have had long-term sun exposure. It most often appears as a crusted or scaly area of skin with a red inflamed base that resembles a growing tumor, non-healing ulcer, or crusted-over patch of skin. While most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, it can develop anywhere, including the inside of the mouth and the genitalia. SCC may arise from actinic keratoses, which are dry, scaly lesions that may be skin-colored, reddish-brown or yellowish-black. SCC requires early treatment to prevent metastasis (spreading).
Accounting for about 4% of all diagnosed skin cancers, melanoma begins in the melanocytes, cells within the epidermis that give skin its color. Melanoma is considered the most lethal form of skin cancer because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. In the United States alone, approximately one person dies from melanoma every hour. Older Caucasian men have the highest mortality rate. Dermatologists believe this is due to the fact that they are less likely to heed the early warning signs. With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for melanoma is about 95%. Once its spreads, the prognosis is poor. Melanoma most often develops in a pre-existing mole or looks like a new mole, which is why it is important for people to know what their moles look like and be able to detect changes to existing moles and spot new moles.Do you know the signs of skin cancer? Here's what to look for:
For more information, got to SkinCarePhysicians.com