Skin Cancer Center

Skin cancer Introduction

Skin cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, possibly because people are living longer which results in a lengthened lifetime sun exposure. Americans also tend to have more time and money for outdoor recreation and holidays in sunny climates, or consider suntans to be healthy and attractive. But what is skin cancer? And who is at risk of developing it?

What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer, like other forms of cancer, results from the abnormal and unrestrained growth and division of cells. Perhaps because of our love for the sun, skin cancer is being reported more frequently each and every year. In fact, it is now the most common form of cancer.

Types of skin cancer
The three main types of skin cancer are:

1. Basal cell carcinoma - Basal cell cancer, sometimes called non-melanoma skin cancer, usually manifests as a small, fleshy bump or flat growth nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body.

2. Malignant melanoma - Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin. Although the incidence of melanoma is lower than other types of skin cancer, it has the highest death rate and is responsible for 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer.

3. Squamous cell carcinoma - Squamous cell skin cancer may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin. Ii is sometimes referred to as non-melanoma carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is usually diagnosed on fair-skinned persons. Though it is generally more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, this cancer is highly treatable.

Other, less common types of skin cancer include:

Kaposi sarcoma - This rare form of skin cancer develops in the skin's blood vessels. It causes red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes, especially for people diagnosed with AIDS.

Merkel cell carcinoma - During cases of this rare cancer, firm, shiny nodules occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles.

Sebaceous gland carcinoma - This uncommon and aggressive cancer originates in the oil glands in the skin.

Skin cancer is characterized by the abnormal growth and division of skin cells. But what can cause this overgrowth of cells? And who is more at risk of developing skin cancer - plus, how can you avoid developing skin cancer? Continue reading for more information on risk factors and causes of skin cancer here.

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