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Understanding The Different Types Of Skin Cancer

Did you know that any cell in your body has the potential to become cancerous? This is especially true with skin cancer. Most of these cancers start in the epidermis layer of your skin, the top layer of your skin. Skin cancer happens to any unrepaired damage to your skin’s DNA that triggers rapid cell development mutations. This often leads to malignant tumors.

Since these different mutations and tumors can vary widely, however, today we’re breaking down the different kinds of skin cancers that can occur.

The Main Causes of Skin Cancer

Ultraviolet (UV) rays and UV tanning beds are the leading causes of skin cancer. Fortunately, if skin cancer is caught early, a dermatologist can often treat it with minimal scarring, or even eliminate it altogether. There are numerous skin cancer types, with Actinic Keratoses, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma being the most common.

Types of Skin Cancer

What Is Actinic Keratoses

Actinic keratoses is a scaly or rough patch of skin sometimes referred to as solar keratosis. It’s relatively common and is caused by the sun’s UV radiation. Some cases actually turn into squamous cell skin cancer, which is why they are not considered life-threatening but are considered pre-cancers. If you get it treated early, the patches won’t have the chance to develop into cancer.

What Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This type of skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells from the squamous cells in your epidermis. It is most common in areas that have been exposed to the sun, like your face, ears, neck, hands, scalp, or where your skin will reveal the most signs of sun damage, like wrinkles or age spots. Its cause is cumulative and long-term exposure to the sun’s UV radiation and from tanning beds. It’s the second most common form, with more than a million cases being diagnosed yearly in the U.S. This cancer can grow fast and will metastasize if it isn’t detected early.

What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma

This type of skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth that comes about from your skin’s basal cells in your epidermis. These are often developed in areas most exposed to the sun, like your face, ears, shoulders, neck, or back. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is caused by a combination of intermittent to intense exposure or long-term exposure to the Sun’s UV radiation. More than four million people develop this type each year and can be destructive if not caught early.

What Is Melanoma

This common type of skin cancer will develop from cells that produce your melanin pigment called melanocytes. These often resemble moles and could come from them. They are usually found anywhere on the body. This includes areas that rarely get any sun exposure. Melanoma is triggered by any intense or intermittent exposure to the sun that often leads to sunburn. Tanning beds have also been known to increase the risk for this cancer. Approximately 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and it is the most dangerous of all cancers.

How To Treat Skin Cancer

Skin cancer treatment consists of freezing, excisional surgery, Mohs surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy (laser), biological therapy, or cryotherapy. Getting a proper diagnosis with your doctor or specialist helps you choose which treatment is best for your case.

However, prevention is the best weapon again skin cancer. Skin cancer prevention is of utmost importance. Doing annual skin checks is essential in catching any problems early before it becomes a malignant melanoma. At Academic Alliance In Dermatology, you can book your annual skin screening today.

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