Skin cancer is becoming more prevalent in our society, and it kills more people each year. It seems as more Americans have fun in the sun, they pay later when skin cancer attacks. Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma are the three most common types of skin cancer. They all have different characteristics but they are all dangerous, especially if they are left untreated.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
This is the most common form of skin cancer. The cancers are usually small and oval-shaped, and sometimes red or pink colored. Often waxy and hard, they are usually removed by surgery which can cure up to 95 percent of cases. If these cancers are not treated, then patients may need extensive surgery or even more invasive radiation treatment.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
This is the second most common form of skin cancer. The appearance of these types of cancers differs from basal cell. They are usually red and rough and can be crusty or an open sore. These cancers can grow and spread quite quickly and can attack deeper tissues under the top layer of skin. Surgery is the most common kind of treatment for squamous cell carcinomas. The surgeon will usually remove the tumor and surrounding skin to make sure it does not spread. Luckily, surgery cures at least 90 percent of these types of cancers.
Melanoma is the third most common form of skin cancer, but it has become more prevalent. It is the most deadly form of the three skin cancers. The melanomas resemble moles and so often they go unnoticed. Usually, melanomas are asymmetrical, uneven in color, larger than the size a pencil eraser, and edges are indistinct or blurry. If these cancers are removed early enough, 95 percent of the patients face an excellent prognosis.
EARLY DETECTION IS KEY
Finding these cancers early is the best way to treat them. Dermatologists recommend that people perform a full-body exam every three months, including the head, scalp, hands, and soles of the feet. People often miss early detection in these areas. If any changes in the skin are found, or new moles are found, then patients should see their doctor.
Prevention of skin cancer is the best way to avoid it. Luckily, it’s easy. Stay out of the sun, and use a good-quality sunscreen whenever you are outside.