Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It is one of the easiest forms of cancer to treat but people die from it because they wait too long to get it treated. Knowing the most common types of skin cancer and what to look for is the best way to prevent skin cancer deaths. The following information describes the three most common types of skin cancer in order from the least severe type to the most severe type.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. This cancer is slow-growing and usually occurs on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. It commonly appears in fair skinned or lighter skinned people who have many years of exposure to the sun. BCC will appear as a flesh-colored or pinkish looking bump that has a “pearlized” appearance. In general, BCC doesn’t spread to other areas of the body but if not treated, it could continue growing until it reaches and invades bones and surrounding tissues.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
This is a common type of skin cancer that occurs mostly in people with fair or lighter skin. SCC appears as a raised, scaly patch of skin. It can look like a wart that has been crusted over. Sometimes it can have an open sore that may or may not bleed. SCC usually occurs on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun for many years, although it occasionally can occur in other areas on the body. It can also spread throughout the body if it isn’t treated in a timely manner. Tanning increases the risk of developing SCC.
Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer as well as the deadliest. Despite this, it has a 99% survival rate if it is detected early. It usually appears as a dark spot which can be confused for a mole or a freckle. Using the acronym ABCDE can help you determine whether or not a spot is melanoma.
A – Asymmetry
One half of the spot is not shaped like the other half.
B – Border
The border is irregularly shaped and uneven.
C – Color
It has various colors and/or shades. It could be a mixture of brown, white, blue, red, or tan.
D – Diameter
Although melanomas start off extremely small, they are usually around 6mm in diameter when they are first diagnosed.
E – Evolving
The spot changes in size, shape, or color.
Skin cancer is a very serious issue that can turn deadly if left untreated. Early detection is very important when dealing with the different types of skin cancer. The earlier it is detected, the higher the survival rate and the least complications you will have from it. Use the information provided to check your skin for signs of skin cancer. If you would like to be checked by a professional, consider us here at the office of Dr. Wendy E. Roberts, MD, in Rancho Mirage. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!