Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of non melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, represents only three percent of skin cancers, but causes seventy five percent of deaths attributed to skin cancer. One in fifty five Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime. Sun exposure is an important risk factor for skin cancer. A light complexion and/or history of blistering sunburns or indoor tanning are also significant risk factors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is basal cell cancer and what does it look like?
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears on sun-exposed areas as a blemish that won't heal or a persistent, pearly, shiny bump. The area may bleed with minor trauma. There are several other presentations including one that appears like a red, rough patch. Sometimes, they are mistaken for pimples, cysts, or rashes. Basal cell carcinoma almost never spreads to the lymph nodes or internal organs, except under rare circumstances. However, it can invade and destroy the immediately surrounding tissue and cause deformity if left unchecked.
What is actinic keratosis and what does it look like?
Actinic keratosis is the most common type of pre-cancer and results from chronic, cumulative sun exposure. Actinic keratosis looks like a scaly patch of dry skin, either flesh-colored or pink, which occurs on sun-exposed areas such as the head and neck, arms, chest and legs. Actinic keratoses should be treated early, as they can lead to squamous cell carcinoma.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is an in office procedure involving removal of skin cancers such as Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This technique allows for the highest cure rates while preserving as much normal skin as possible. The surgeons at Bayou City Dermatology are specialized in advanced reconstruction in minimal to no scarring after the procedure .
What is squamous cell cancer and what does it look like?
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. It also commonly arises in areas that are chronically exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, upper back, and arms. It often appears as a hard, scaly bump or scaling patch and may be mistaken for a wart or patch of dry skin.
What is melanoma and what does it look like?
Melanoma is the most deadly of the common forms of skin cancer, but has an excellent prognosis if it is caught early. Though melanoma may occur anywhere on the skin, it is found most often on the legs of women or the backs of men. This type of skin cancer often occurs in moles. It is usually a brown to black lesion which is not uniform in border, color or surface. Melanomas on chronically sun-damaged skin like the face may appear like a brown patch or freckle with irregular color.
Can I get skin cancer anywhere on my body?
While skin cancers usually appear on skin that has been chronically exposed to the sun (like the head, neck, arms, and chest), you can get skin cancer anywhere – even on skin that has rarely or "never" been exposed to the sun.