Fortunately, most skin cancers can be easily treated if they are detected early. Any growth on the skin, particularly on sun exposed areas that change should be examined. Signs of possible skin cancer may include bleeding, ulceration, crusting, redness, pain or discoloration.
Unlike moles, skin cancer can invade the normal tissue nearby. Melanoma is more likely than other skin cancers to spread to other parts of the body. Squamous cell skin cancer can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, but Basal cell skin cancer rarely does.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancer).
The three most common types are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): is the most common type of skin cancer. Although BCC rarely spreads to other parts of the body(metastasis), it can be locally destructive invading nerves, muscle, or bones.
Basal cell skin cancer begins in the basal cell layer of the skin. It usually occurs in places that have been exposed to the sun. For example, the face is the most common place to find basal cell skin cancer.
In people with fair skin, basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer.
Appearance: It normally appears as a pinkish or reddish patch that may bleed or scab.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Squamous cell skin cancer begins in squamous cells.
In people with dark skin, squamous cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer, and it is usually found in places that are not in the sun, such as the legs or feet. However, in people with fair skin, squamous cell skin cancer usually occurs on parts of the skin that have been in the sun, such as the head, face, ears, and neck.
Appearance: One may notice a thick growth that can peel and bleed and may have an irregularly shaped border.
Melanoma: Melanoma begins in melanocytes (pigment cells). Most melanocytes are in the skin. Melanoma can occur on any skin surface.
In men, it is often found on the skin in the lower legs or between the shoulders and the hips. Melanoma is rare in people with dark skin. When it does develop in people with dark skin, it is usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.
Appearance: One should seek examination if you see a dark, irregularly shaped growth with uneven reddish-brown, brown, or black coloring.
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