There are 9,500 people diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the United States. An estimated two people die from the disease every hour. It is one of the most common cancers in the country, but in most cases, it can be prevented by avoiding overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and tanning.
There are different types of skin cancer, however, the most commonly diagnosed are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The type of skin cancer that develops is largely affected by where it begins. Let’s discuss the most common types of skin cancer and how you can prevent them.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). An estimated 3.6 million cases of BCC are diagnosed each year in the United States. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells. The basal cells are found at the bottom of the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma is very common in people with fair skin and often develops on the parts of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms. The cancerous growths can be flesh-colored, pearly-white, brown, black, or pinkish, and have raised edges with undefined borders.
Avoiding excessive sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm is a great preventive measure. Wearing sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days, and avoiding tanning beds is also recommended.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma is ranked second in the most common types of skin cancer. Approximately 1.8 million cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. It develops in the squamous cells, which are the middle and outer layers of skin.
SCC growths usually appear on the face, ears, lips, chest, arms, and backs of the hands. They appear as firm red nodules or flat and scaly sores that can heal and reopen. They can grow deep into the skin and cause serious complications.
Just like basal skin carcinoma, SCC is caused by excessive sun exposure and tanning beds and not using sunscreen. In addition, it could also develop in people with weakened immune systems due to a medical condition or medications used to treat conditions.
Every year since 2008, Melanoma cases continue to rise by 2 percent. It is the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, and it occurs in the melanocytes — the cells that produce melanin, which gives your skin its color.
Melanoma can develop within an existing mole or even on skin that is not regularly exposed to the sun, such as the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. The changes are evident as the mole begins to look unusual — the shape may change, the borders may look irregular, and the distribution of color may be uneven. Melanoma can cause moles to grow in size over time.
Avoiding excessive sun exposure, wearing sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds can help prevent melanoma. Everyone should familiarize themselves with their skin and moles, and be attuned to any changes that could indicate the development of skin cancer.
If you notice any changes in your skin, don’t delay seeing a dermatologist. You are more likely to have better outcomes from skin cancer treatment if the disease is diagnosed early. Skin cancer has a 99 percent cure rate if treated early.
Dermatologist in Miami, FL
At The Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, we provide cutting-edge treatment and prevention services for skin cancer. We offer skin cancer screenings, and for treatment, we use Mohs micrographic surgery, which is a tissue-sparing and precise treatment for high-risk skin cancers with a very high cure rate. Our dermatologist, Dr. T.J. Giuffrida, is fellowship-trained in this procedure.
Our practice is dedicated to skin cancer prevention and treatment. To schedule a consultation with us, call our dermatology clinic today at (305) 461-2000 or use our online appointment request form. It’s about time you entrust the health of your skin to the experts.