Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common skin cancers include basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. 2.8 million people per year are diagnosed. The incidence of basal cell has been rising. Basal cell most often grows and spreads locally if untreated, but can be very disfiguring if not caught early. These typically appear pink and slightly pearly and may be either flat or raised. They bleed frequently often with very minor trauma and often don’t heal completely.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell skin cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer 700,000 cases are diagnosed per year. It is more prevalent in organ transplant patients and 2% of people diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma can die from it. These are often scaly patches or warty looking lesions. They often bleed, can be painful and do not heal.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is composed of melanocytes, the same cells which make up moles. Melanomas are typically brown to black, but may not contain pigment and show up as a colorless or reddish pink spot. Most people know the ABCDE of melanoma. A stands for asymmetry. B stands for irregular borders. C stands for multiple colors. D can either stand for diameter larger than 6 mm or dark is something that has been suggested more recently, since melanomas are frequently darker than other moles. When caught early melanomas have an excellent cure rate. The thicker the melanoma gets the worse the prognosis. This type of skin cancer can be deadly.
One of the fastest growing age groups developing melanoma are teenagers and young adults who have used tanning beds. This is a public service announcement by a mother whose daughter died of melanoma at a young age due to her chronic use of tanning beds. For the best resources for photos and more information on skin cancers, visit The Skin Cancer Foundation.