Keywords: skin cancer detection, basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, malignant melanoma
One of every three cancers diagnosed in the United States this year will be skin cancer, for a total of more than 700,000 new cases. The risk is greatest is summer, because ultraviolet rays from the sun are the main cause of skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancers
There are three types of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinomas are the most common, accounting for 80% of the skin cancers that develop each year; together with a second type of skin cancer, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, they outnumber all other cancers combined. If detected and treated at an early stage, these two tumors cause few serious complications and fewer deaths. The third and least common form of skin cancer, Malignant Melanoma, is by far the most lethal, killing nearly 7,000 Americans each year.
If you notice any unusual mole or skin growth, contact your physician. The danger signs of malignant melanoma can be remembered by using the following A-B-C-D: Asymmetry (melanomas are often uneven in shape), Border (jagged rather than smooth), Color (mixed shades of tan, brown, and black), and Diameter (larger than a pencil eraser).
Skin Cancer Treatment
If they are caught early, the vast majority of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be surgically removed in a simple, painless procedure right in a dermatologist's office. Treatment for malignant melanoma is more complicated, but surgery is effective for most early stage tumors.
This article is taken from American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, used with permission.
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