Types of Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the skin. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. Skin is the largest organ of the human body, and when it is infected or sustains damage from the sun, skin cancer can become present. There are four types of skin cancer that that will be discussed here to give you important information.

  • Actinic Keratosis is a precursor for basal cell carcinoma. This is the most common form of precancer, and it develops on areas of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun. It typically appears as red or pink rough patches of skin.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma comprises about eighty percent of all cases of skin cancer. The lowest layer of the skin is called the “basal layer” because it is made up of basal cells. Basal cells rarely travel outside of the basal layer, so basal cell carcinoma seldom spreads to other parts of the body. This form of cancer typically occurs in the head and neck, and is generally waxy, raised, pink to reddish bumps.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma affects the cells found in the middle layer of the skin. It is a more aggressive form of cancer than basal cell carcinoma, and it generally appears on as red, scaly, and rough skin lesions. Areas of the body that receive a high amount of sun exposure – such as the face, neck, lips, ears, arms, and hands – are at the most risk for squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Melanoma is by far the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It causes approximately seventy-five percent of all skin cancer-related deaths each year. Melanoma occurs in the skin cells that are responsible for making the pigment of the skin. Any time there is a spot on the body that follows these irregularities should be seen by a physician right away: asymmetrical in shape, the borders of the lesion are irregular, there is a change in the color or diameter of the lesion, and any time noticeable evolution occurs.

Limiting your sun exposure and wearing a sunscreen with a high SPF is the best way to decrease your chances of acquiring skin cancer. At Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta, Dr. Jamie Weisman leads her thriving research and medical dermatology practice to provide thorough diagnosis and long-lasting treatment for all types of skin conditions, including skin cancer. Call today for a personalized approach to your skin and health care.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.