Along with regular professional skin checks, checking yourself and knowing what to look for, is a great step in early detection of skin cancers.
Types of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, with approximately 3.6 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. every year. BCCs are uncontrolled growths that can appear as open sores, scars, shiny bumps or red patches. BCCs rarely metastasize (spread to other organs), but if they are not spotted early or treated properly they can be locally destructive and cause significant scarring.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is second to BCC in prevalence, but still affects an estimated 1.8 million people in the U.S. every year. They can manifest as scaly red patches, warts or open sores. SCCs are more dangerous than BCCs, as they have the potential to metastasize if not detected and treated at an early stage.
Melanoma is perhaps the best-known type of skin cancer, likely because it is also the most dangerous form of the disease. Melanoma can become very hard to treat and even be fatal if allowed to progress. If the cancer is caught early, however, a patient has an estimated 5-year survival rate of 99 percent.
The majority of melanomas appear black or dark brown, but they can also appear pink, white, red, blue or purple. The acronym ABCDE is used to help identify common features of melanoma.
There is a small genetic component to melanoma rates, however UV exposure represents the biggest risk. Did you know that a person’s risk for melanoma doubles with more than five sunburns?