Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers, with 1 million people in the U. Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation and grow and multiply without normal controls. Here are the cancer basics:. There are three major types of skin cancers: The first two skin cancers are grouped together as non-melanoma skin cancers.
Other unusual types of skin cancer include Merkel cell tumors and dermatofibrosarcoma protruberans. Like many cancers, skin cancers start as precancerous lesions.
These precancerous lesions are changes in skin that are not cancerbut could become cancer over time. Medical professionals often refer to these changes as dysplasia. Some specific dysplastic changes that occur in skin are as follows:, skin cancer basil and squamous.
Recent studies show the number of skin cancer cases in the U. Fortunately, increased awareness on the part of Americans and their health care providers has resulted in earlier diagnosis and improved outcomes. Ultraviolet UV light exposure, most commonly from sunlight, skin cancer basil and squamous, is overwhelmingly the most frequent cause of skin cancer.
Other important causes of skin cancer include the following:. Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are more common in older people. Melanomas are one of the most common cancers in younger people, especially in people ages 25 to The risk of melanoma rises with age.
A basal cell carcinoma BCC usually looks like a raised, smooth, pearly bump on the sun-exposed skin of the head, neck, or shoulders. A squamous cell carcinoma SCC is commonly a well-defined, red, scaling, thickened bump on sun-exposed skin. It may ulcerate and bleed, and left untreated, may develop into a large mass.
The majority of malignant or cancerous melanomas are brown-to-black pigmented lesions. Other signs of a cancerous melanoma include:. Many people, especially those who have fair coloring or have had extensive sun exposure, periodically check their entire body for suspicious moles and lesions. Have your primary health care provider or a dermatologist check any moles or spots that concern you. See your health care provider to check your skin if you notice any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of pigmented areas such as darker or a change in areas of skin or moles.
If you have skin cancer, your skin specialist dermatologist or cancer specialist oncologist will talk to you about symptoms of metastatic disease skin cancer basil and squamous might require care in a hospital.
If you think a mole or other skin lesion has turned into skin cancer, your primary care provider will probably refer you to a dermatologist. The dermatologist will examine cat cancer angel moles in question and, in many cases, the entire skin surface.
Any skin cancer basil and squamous that are difficult to identify, or are thought to be skin cancer, may then be checked.
Tests for skin cancer may include:. If a biopsy shows that you have malignant melanoma, you may undergo further testing to determine the extent of spread of the disease, if any. This may involve blood tests, a chest X-ray, and other tests as needed.
This is only needed if the melanoma is of a certain size. Skin cancer treatment for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma is straightforward.
Usually, surgical removal of the lesion is adequate. Malignant melanoma, however, may require several treatment methods -- depending on the size of the tumor -- including surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy.
Because of the complexity of treatment decisions, people with malignant melanoma may benefit from the combined expertise of the dermatologist, a skin cancer basil and squamous surgeon, and an oncologist. Home treatment is not appropriate for skin cancer. These conditions require the care of a dermatologist or specialist in skin cancers.
Be active in preventing and detecting skin cancer on yourself and others. Perform regular self-examinations of your skin and note any changes. Surgical removal is the mainstay of skin cancer treatment for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
For more information, see Surgery. People who cannot undergo surgery may be treated by external radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is the use of a small beam of radiation targeted at the skin lesion.
The radiation kills the abnormal cells and destroys the lesion. Radiation therapy can cause irritation or burning of the surrounding normal skin. It can also cause fatigue, skin cancer basil and squamous. These side effects are temporary. Skin cancer basil and squamous with advanced or many basal cell carcinomas are sometimes prescribed oral pills to block the growth of these cancers.
Side effects include muscle spasms, hair loss, taste changes, skin cancer basil and squamous, weight cancer ankle swelling and fatigue. In advanced cases of melanoma, immune therapies, vaccinesskin cancer basil and squamous, or chemotherapy may be used. These treatments are typically offered as clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies of new therapies to see if they can be tolerated and work better than existing therapies.
Small skin cancer lesions may be removed through a variety of techniques, including simple excision cutting it awayelectrodesiccation and curettage scraping the tumor and then burning the tissue with an electric needleand cryosurgery freezing the area with liquid nitrogen. Larger tumors, lesions in high-risk locations, recurrent tumors, and lesions in cosmetically sensitive areas are removed by a technique called Mohs micrographic surgery.
For this technique, the surgeon carefully removes tissue, layer by layer, skin cancer basil and squamous, until cancer-free tissue is reached. Malignant melanoma is treated more aggressively than just surgical removal. Depending on the thickness of the melanoma, neighboring lymph nodes may also be removed and tested for cancer. The sentinel lymph node biopsy method uses a mildly radioactive substance to identify which lymph nodes are most likely to be affected.
Of skin cancers that do recur, most do so within three years. Therefore, skin cancer basil and squamous up with your dermatologist as recommended. Make an appointment immediately if you suspect a problem. If you have advanced malignant melanoma, your oncologist may want to see you every few months. These visits may include total body skin exams, regional lymph node checks, and periodic chest X-rays and body scans.
Over time, the intervals between follow-up appointments will increase. Eventually these checks may be done only once a year. Monthly skin self-exams improve your chances of finding a skin cancer early, when it has done a minimum skin cancer basil and squamous damage to your skin and can be treated easily. Regular self-exams help you recognize any new or changing features. Check all areas of your body, including "hard-to-reach" areas. Although the number of skin cancers in the U. Thus, illness and death rates have decreased.
The remaining cancers recur at some point after treatment. In most cases, the outcome of malignant melanoma depends on the thickness of the tumor at the time of treatment.
Living with skin skin cancer basil and squamous presents many new challenges for you and for your family and friends. You will probably have many worries about how the cancer will affect you and your ability to "live a normal life," that is, to care for your family and home, to hold your job, and to continue the friendships and activities you enjoy.
Many people with a skin cancer diagnosis feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful; others feel helpless and defeated. For most people with skin cancer, talking about their feelings and concerns helps.
Your friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how you are coping. If you want to talk about your concerns, let them know. A social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful. Your dermatologist or oncologist should be able to recommend someone.
Many people with cancer are profoundly helped by talking to other people who have cancer. Sharing your concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring.
Support groups for people with cancer may be available through the medical center where you are receiving your treatment. The American Cancer Society also has information about skin cancer basil and squamous groups throughout the U. For other valuable information, visit the following. Superficial spreading melanoma, left breast. Photo courtesy of Susan M. Melanoma on the sole of the foot. Diagnostic punch biopsy site located at the top.
Melanoma, right lower cheek, skin cancer basil and squamous. Large sun-induced squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer on the forehead and temple. Image courtesy of Dr.
What To Know Lung Cancer: Skin Cancer Overview Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers, with 1 million people in the U. Here are the cancer basics: