Skin cancer is a condition in which the skin cells grow abnormally. While commonly found in areas of the skin that get a lot of sun, skin cancer can also happen in places that do not get a lot of sun. There are many types of skin cancer but the most common are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. As with all cancers, skin cancer should be taken seriously. While the five-year survival rate for some skin cancers is quite high, early detection is essential to the success of a case.
There are several skin cancer types that a doctor might diagnose as a result of a skin biopsy.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, followed by squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC.
Both are common in those with fair skin, but can occur in patients with darker skin. Patients may also present with growths known as actinic keratoses, or AKs, which are not cancer but can grow into cancer.
The most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma since it is the most likely skin cancer to spread quickly and widely. The most effective interventions with all types of skin cancer are early diagnosis and treatment.
There are a number of signs of skin cancer. These can vary based on the type of skin cancer involved.
Skin cancer can be caused by exposure to UV radiation found in sunlight and tanning beds, as well as by exposure to toxins or having an immune condition. There are many risk factors associated with an increased chance of developing skin cancer, including:
Diagnosing skin cancer can involve a biopsy. When a melanoma is quite thin, it can be removed during biopsy. In other cases, surgery may be required to remove skin cancer. Other interventions include curettage to slice off a lesion, cryotherapy to freeze and destroy a lesion, and Mohs surgery, which involves removing the cancerous lesions layer by layer. Supplemental therapies used to treat skin cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy or biological therapy that uses your immune system to fight the cancerous cells.
All cases of skin cancer are not the same, therefore we recommend seeing a specialist to help determine which treatment option is the best for you.