SKIN CANCER PREVENTION
While Americans now recognize that overexposure to the sun is unhealthy, most do not protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays. As a result, skin cancer is very common in the United States. More than 1 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year, and approximately one person dies from melanoma every hour.
Since skin cancer is so prevalent today, Dermatologists also recommend that everyone learn how to recognize the signs of skin cancer, use this knowledge to perform regular examinations of their skin, and see a dermatologist annually (more frequently if at high risk) for an exam. Skin cancer is highly curable with early detection and proper treatment. Sun protection can also significantly decrease a person’s risk of developing skin cancer.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)
WHAT IS BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)?
BCC is the most common cancer in humans, and is found in over a million people each year in the U.S. alone. BCC makes up about 80% of all human skin cancers. BCC can take several forms including a shiny translucent or pearly nodule, a sore that continuously heals and reopens, a pink, slightly elevated growth, reddish irritated patches of skin, or a waxy scar. Most BCC appears on skin with a history of exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, scalp, and upper trunk.
Dermatologists encourage early diagnosis and treatment to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)
WHAT IS SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)?
About 16% of diagnosed skin cancers are SCC with roughly 200,000 cases diagnosed every year. SCC tends to develop in fair-skinned middle-aged and elderly people who have had long-term sun exposure. SCC most often appears as a crusted or scaly area of skin with a red inflamed base that resembles a growing tumor, non-healing ulcer, or crusted-over patch of skin. While most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, it can develop anywhere, including the inside of the mouth and the genitalia.
SCC requires early treatment to prevent metastasis (spreading).
WHAT IS MELANOMA?
About 4% of all diagnosed skin cancers are melanoma. Melanoma has been coined “the most lethal form of skin cancer” because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. In the United States alone, approximately one person dies from melanoma every hour. Once it spreads, the prognosis is poor. Melanoma most often develops in a pre-existing or new mole, making it important for people to be familiar with their current moles and recognize changes and new moles popping up.
With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for melanoma is about 95%.