Skin is the most common and most rapidly increasing form of cancer in the United States.
The three major types of skin cancer are the highly curable (1) basal cell and (2) squamous cell carcinoma and the most serious (3) malignant melanoma.
(1) Basal cell carcinoma is the most common among the three types of skin cancer. Cells just below the surface of the skin become cacnerous, and a tumor develops and becomes ulcerated. The ulcer grows slowly and as it destroys the tissues at its edges. Unlike many other malignant growhts, it does not spread to other parts of the body. If detected and treated early, these carcinomas have a cure rate of more than 95%. Untreated, they can cause considerable damage and disfigurement.
(2) Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three types of skin cancer. In sqaumous cell carcinomas, underlying skin cells are damaged, and this leads to the developement of a malignant, or life-threatning, tumor (lump). As with the other types of skin cancer, years of exposure to strong sunlight seem to be the main cause.
(3) Malignant melanoma causes more than 75% of all deaths from skin cancer. This disease can spread to other organs, most commonly the lungs and the liver. Malignant melanoma diagnosed at an early stage is more likely to spread and cause death.
Major Risk Factors
The risk factors for skin cancer are.......
Light skin color
Family history of skin cancer
Personal history of skin cancer
Chronic exposure to the sun (squamous cell carcinoma).
v History of severe sunburns early in life (basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma).
Certain types and a large number of moles (malignant melanoma).
Freckles as an indicator of sun sensitivity and sun damage (malignant melanoma).
How To Prevent Skin Cancer........
When possible, reduce direct
exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When direct sun cannot be
Note: Educating children and adults about the measures that can be taken to reduce or avoid UV exposure is important.
Do You Have The Symptoms?
Symptoms for Basal Cell Carcinoma:
A small, flesh-colored, or sometimes pearly-looking lu,p appears on the skin. A common site is the face, especially next to the eye or on the side of the nose. The lump grows steadily and within about six weeks becomes an ulcer with a hard border adn a raw, moist center, which may bleed. Scabs may keep forming over the ulcer, but they come off and the ulcer does not heal. Sometimes basal cell carcinomas develop as flat sores on the back and chest that grow very slowly. This type of skin cancer most commonly affects people with light skin cancer who are middle-aged or elderly and have spent many years in a sunny environment.
Symptoms for Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
This page was last updated on 12-17-98