Skin Cancer & Moles
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Prevention is the best way to protect yourself from getting skin cancer. Overexposure to UV radiation (sunlight) is the most common cause of skin cancer. Annual full skin exams are the best means of catching a skin cancer early and consistent, lifelong sun protection is the best way to decrease the likelihood of getting a skin cancer at all. Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer and are highly curable. Malignant Melanoma is the third most common form of skin cancer but is more lethal and dangerous.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)
This is the most common type of skin cancer. While BCC is more common in fair-skinned individuals it can occur in people of all colors. Typically, BCC is not life-threatening nor will it metastasize. It grows slowly but if left untreated can grow very deep. Itsually appears as a non-healing spot that bleeds easily.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)
This type of skin cancer can be caused by sunlight, tanning beds, injury or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). While SCC, like BCC, is more common in fair-skinned individuals it can occur in people of all colors. It can appear as a rough, red-brown sore, a painful nodule like a mini-volcano or even as a growth with a tiny fingernail (horn) growing out of it.
Melanoma is usually considered the most serious type of skin cancer as it can metastasize and spread throughout the entire body. A MM can appear many different ways: a new freckle that looks different from your other spots; a spot that has an irregular border and that is growing or changing in color, or even as a dark, linear band on the fingernail or toenail.
There are numerous treatment options depending on the type of skin cancer a person has. Basal Cell Carcinoma can be treated by destruction, surgery or sometimes even topical medication. Squamous Cell Carcinoma treatments range from medications injected or applied to the skin, destruction via cryotherapy or curettage to surgery or in rarer cases radiation and chemotherapy. Malignant Melanoma treatments can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
*This webpage is for informational purposes and is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, medical advice. Any medical concerns should be addressed with a physician.