Do you spend lots of time outside soaking up the sun? Do you frequent tanning beds?
If so, you are at risk for skin cancer. But skin cancer doesn’t discriminate – anyone can get this skin cancer.
In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United states, according to the Center for Disease Control. Over 60 million cases are reported every year.
The good news is most of these cancer are preventable and treatable, if caught early enough. That’s why knowing what to look for is so important.
The National Cancer Institute and the American Academy of Dermatology recommends you perform a monthly self-examination of your skin.
You should always be on the look out for changing moles, growing bumps or dry, scaly patches of skin because these are usually the first signs.
Types of Skin Cancer
The most common types of skin cancers include:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
The list doesn’t end there. There are also more rare types which include:
- Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)
- Merkel cell Carcinoma (MCC)
- Sebaceous Carcinoma
There are also Actinic Keratoses (AKs) precancerous growths that have a high likeliness of forming into cancer, if left untreated.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common and these cancers. You can get BCC on any part of your body but it is most commonly found on your face, head, neck and back of your hands. It is slow-growing and takes on many shapes, sizes and colors. It can appear as a red or pink scaly patch, a flesh-colored growth, a smooth, waxy or pearly bump , or a sore that won’t heal.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma often develops as a lump on the skin with a rough texture, a flat reddish patch of skin, itchy or burning patch or a sore that won’t heal. This type of cancer typically is found on the head, neck, hands, legs or arms.
- Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society’s estimates about 9,000 people will die from Melanoma this year alone. Melanoma usually appears as a brownish spot with darker flecks, it can look like a mole or grow from a mole, a skin-colored, pink, red, purple, white or bluish lesion.
How To Notice Skin Cancer
Sometimes symptoms can be hard to spot, especially since basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can both appear as flat area that don’t look much different than your normal skin.
If you notice any new growths, irregular patches of skin or sores that won’t heal or sores that heal and come back you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist right away.
Skin Cancer Treatment
Before you can receive treatment you must first be diagnosed with skin cancer. Your dermatologist will examine any growths, moles or dry patches. Then remove a sample of anything that looks cancerous and send it to a lab for a biopsy. The lab will determine if it’s cancer.
Treatment Options Include:
- Biological Therapy or Immunotherapy
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation (Electrosurgery)
- Laser Surgery
- Mohs Surgery
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
- Surgical Excision
- Topical Chemotherapy Applied to Skin
If the skin cancer has spread to other organs surgical or localized treatments like the ones listed above will not be effective.
- Radiation therapy
New treatments are being tested in clinical trials in an effort to find new ways to treat skin cancer.
Who Gets Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer can affect anyone but some people are more at risk than others. Your risk of getting skin cancer increases if you…
- 50+ Moles
- Excessive Sun and Tanning Exposure
- Fair Complexioned | Light Hair | Light Eyes
- Family History of Skin Cancer
- Frequently Receive X-rays
- Over the Age of 50
- Precancerous Growth Untreated
- Previous Bad Burn
- Skin that Burns or Freckles Rather than Tans
- Weakened Immune System
FIND A TOP10MD DERMATOLOGIST NEAR YOU
An experienced Dermatologist knows exactly how to treat any skin condition. They can help you restore aging skin using advanced dermatology techniques and help you maintain one of your most important organs – your skin.
There are thousands of Dermatologists to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Dermatologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.
For your peace of mind, Top10MD Dermatologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.