1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Skin Cancer

The most frequently occurring types of skin cancer include basal cell, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.  Because skin cancer forms on the outer layer of the epidermis, it is detectable in its early stages.  The primary cause of skin cancer is too much exposure to the sun.  Reducing one’s sun exposure by avoiding sun-bathing and tanning salons, wearing sun screen and appropriate protective clothing, and being careful not to get sun-burned will dramatically decrease your risks of getting skin cancer.  Basal cell carcinoma is the most common, but least harmful form of skin cancer.   This form of cancer will damage the surrounding tissue, but is rarely fatal.

Squamous cell carcinoma cancers are more dangerous than basal cell carcinomas. They have a significant risk of metastasizing to other areas of the body if untreated.

A malignant melanoma is an extremely dangerous form of skin cancer.  If untreated in the early stages, a melanoma is often fatal.  While genetic factors play a role in one’s risk of getting a melanoma, sun exposure plays a huge part.  One should regularly inspect one’s skin for new moles, moles which change in appearance, or moles which have any of the ABCDE guidelines for identifying a melanoma.  These include: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variability, Diameter larger than half a centimeter or over a 1/8 of an inch, and Evolving or changing lesion (for example, a lesion that becomes itchy, bleeds or becomes tender).  If a melanoma is discovered in the early stages, it can be surgically excised, removing a section of the surrounding tissue to ensure isolation.  In the case of early detection and treatment, prognosis is excellent (over 99%).  However, if a melanoma reaches a certain depth, it will metastasize to other areas of the body, and treatment options may include radiation, chemotherapy and other serious treatments.  Prognosis for later stages of melanoma may range from 9% to 40% chance of survival.