Skin cancer — the abnormal growth of skin cells — most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.
You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for successful skin cancer treatment.
The first category is basal and squamous cell skin cancers. These are the most common forms of skin cancer. They’re most likely to develop on areas of your body that get the most sun, like your head and neck.
They’re less likely than other forms of skin cancer to spread and become life-threatening. But if left untreated, they can grow larger and spread to other parts of your body.
The second category is melanoma. This type of cancer develops from cells that give your skin color. These cells are known as melanocytes. Benign moles formed by melanocytes can become cancerous.
They can develop anywhere on your body. In men, these moles are more likely to develop on the chest and back. In women, these moles are more likely to develop on the legs.
Skin cancer types
Two main types of skin masses exist, keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma. Not all of these are skin cancer, but they can become cancerous.
- Actinic keratosis: These red or pink patches of skin are not cancerous, but they’re considered a form of precancer. If left untreated, these skin masses may develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma: Basal cell carcinomas account for 90 percent . They’re slow-growing masses that most often show up on the head or neck.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Develops in the outer layers of your skin, and it’s typically more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. It may show up as red, scaly lesions on your skin.
- Melanoma: Is less common, but it’s the most dangerous. In fact, melanoma makes uP, but it causes the majority related deaths each year. Melanoma forms in the melanocytes, the skin cells that create pigment.
Unusual changes to your skin can be a warning sign for the different types of cancer. Being alert for changes to your skin may help you get a diagnosis earlier.
Watch out for symptoms, including:
- skin lesions: A new mole, unusual growth, bump, sore, scaly patch, or dark spot develops and doesn’t go away.
- asymmetry: The two halves of the lesion or mole aren’t even or identical.
- border: The lesions have ragged, uneven edges.
- color: The spot has an unusual color, such as white, pink, black, blue, or red.
- diameter: The spot is larger than one-quarter inch, or about the size of a pencil eraser.
- evolving: You can detect that the mole is changing size, color, or shape.
Occur when mutations develop in the DNA of your skin cells. These mutations cause skin cells to grow uncontrollably and form a mass of cancer cells.
Is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. UV rays can damage the DNA inside your skin cells, causing the unusual cell growth.
Can also develop after long-term exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. It can develop within a burn scar or ulcer, and may also be caused by some types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
At Amrita Medical Center, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if the right fit for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience. Contact us here!