The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (both are often grouped in nonmelanoma skin cancers) and melanoma.
Because skin cancers are caused by the uncontrolled growth of skin cells, the first presentation is usually a visible change in a person’s skin. Consult a trained physician immediately if you observe any of these warning signs associated with common skin cancers:
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are some of the most treatable cancers. When melanoma is caught and treated early (before it spreads to the lymph nodes), it is also highly curable. The goal of treatment for skin cancer is to remove, or excise, all of the cancer. Typically, the first line therapies are surgical. Nonsurgical treatments may be an option in some cases.
The type of surgical treatment used depends on the type, size, depth and location of the tumor. In most cases, the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The most common surgical procedures to remove cancerous areas of the skin are:
Radiation or chemotherapy may be necessary for advanced cases of skin cancer or when patients are unable to have surgery.
The incidence of skin cancer has been increasing quickly for the past few years. One in two men and one in three women will develop nonmelanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Once a patient has a nonmelanoma skin cancer, there is a much higher risk of developing more skin cancers.
The risks factors for developing nonmelanoma skin cancer include: fair skin, indoor tanning bed use, multiple blistering sunburns, heavy UV exposure, prior skin cancer diagnosis, northern European ancestry, history of radiation therapy, immunosuppression, exposure to arsenic, and some forms of the HPV virus. Individuals at higher risk of melanoma include those with: red or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, many atypical moles, a first degree relative with a history of melanoma, a previous diagnosis of melanoma or nonmelanoma skin cancer(s).
Sun exposure can damage your skin during any season, but summer rays are more harmful and can raise the risk of developing skin cancer. Smart sun care tips include:
Use these links to find out more about skin cancer:
If you are facing a skin cancer diagnosis, your Palmer cancer center is here for you. From information and educational materials to diagnosis confirmation, treatment, and aftercare, our skin cancer team understands what patients need to be healthy. Prompt treatment is the key to the best outcomes, so contact us today if you need information about referrals or appointments. Our staff is waiting to help you.