The Most Common Types of Skin Cancer

Microscopic view on skin cancer cells According to the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly one out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. While this statistic may seem frightening, it’s important to remember that some types of skin cancer are far less dangerous than others and that most diagnoses can be treated, especially if identified early. At The Dermatology Clinic, we want our patients to understand the symptoms and risks of common skin cancers so that they know when to schedule a diagnostic exam.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It occurs in the basal cells, which are located at the bottom of the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer. It’s most commonly caused by exposure to sunlight, and, for that reason, it usually occurs on frequently exposed parts of the body like the shoulders, back, neck, and scalp. While anyone who spends prolonged time in the sun is at risk, basal cell carcinoma is particularly common in people with fair skin.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is another common type of skin cancer. It often arises from small, rough patches of growth called actinic keratoses. Squamous cell carcinoma may metastasize and spread to other parts of the body. Fortunately, the threat posed by this type of skin cancer can usually be reduced or even eliminated with timely treatment.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most malignant type of skin cancer on the list. It originates in pigment cells, called melanocytes, and can originate in a mole or appear as a dark blotch or a raised bump. It may be dark red, brown, black, or a light pinkish color. Melanoma can grow quickly and can be life-threatening if it is not identified and treated early on.

The best way to combat skin cancer is by being proactive and always using sun protection. Regular check-ups can help detect skin cancer before it becomes a threat. The board-certified dermatologists at The Dermatology Clinic can help by providing thorough exams to help diagnose skin cancer as early as possible. Schedule an appointment today.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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