Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world. Fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable. In this article, we will present a brief overview of important information regarding the condition for educational purposes. Of course, if you suspect that you may have a serious skin problem, there is no replacement for seeing a trained medical professional such as a dermatologist.
Overview. As we have already mentioned, skin cancer is quite common — to be precise, nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with the condition each and every day in the United States alone. Skin cancer is divided into three main categories:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common type, which tends to manifest as a pinkish bump, generally on the head, neck, face, or arms.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which also appears on more frequently exposed parts of the body, and tends to appear as a scaly wound that may close and then re-open from time to time.
- Melanoma, which appears suddenly as a new, irregularly-shaped mole, and is the most deadly form of skin cancer. All the same, treatment options are constantly improving, as are patient outcomes.
Risk Factors / Causes. The number one cause of skin cancer is excessive time spent in the sun, especially without proper protection such as sunscreen, long-sleeved clothing, hats, frequent breaks, etc. Having light skin, a family or personal history of skin cancer, and/or lots of freckles are all additional risk factors; however, it is important to realize that anyone can get skin cancer.
Detection. Fortunately, skin cancer is oftentimes easy to detect in its early stages, which is an important reason why it is one of the most survivable forms of cancer in the world. All the same, in order to detect skin cancer on time for optimal treatment, it is important to perform regular self-examinations and to visit your dermatologist from time to time.
Staging. Skin cancer, like all cancers, is staged on a scale from 0 (precancerous lesions) to 4 (advanced cancer) based upon factors such as tumor size, whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and whether it has spread to other organs. The lower your stage, the easier and more effective treatment will be — however, with modern advancements, there is almost always hope for a full recovery regardless of the stage.
Treatment. Response to skin cancer may be as simple as a one-time surgery, or it may require more intensive responses such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. To learn more about treatment options for skin cancer, contact BH Skin online today.