Types of Skin Cancer


Skin cancer is a prevalent cancer in human beings. Skin cancer is the abnormal mutation of skin cells. There are many triggers to the mutation, but the most established are exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and some indoor tanning mechanisms. Treatment is specialized to the type of cancer.

Melanoma and its dangers

Melanoma is the least occurring skin cancer but the type with the most number of deaths. It occurs in the melanin, producing skin cells and appears in the form of a mole. It is caused by sun exposure and can be hereditary. Melanoma is a very aggressive and invasive skin cancer.

The affected cells grow deep into the skin to affect the blood and lymphatic systems. Unlike other skin cancers, melanoma can appear in body parts not exposed to the sun. Symptoms include an asymmetrical mole with an irregular borderline that keeps changing color.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and less harmful as compared to the others. It grows at a slow rate and does not spread to surrounding organs or the blood veins. Basal cell carcinoma continuously destroys the surrounding tissue until removal.

This type of cancer occurs in body parts that are exposed to the sun’s radiation such as the face, ears, arms and legs. People with light skin are easily susceptible to sunburns. They have the highest risk factor. The most common symptom is a dome-shaped bump that is flaky and can be red or pink in color. Early detection is paramount in the treatment of BCC. It is treated surgically by removing the affected tissue.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma varies greatly from basal cell carcinoma based on some of its causes. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is caused by past sun exposure in fair-skinned people suffering from immune suppression. The cancer is highly aggressive and starts by destroying the tissue surrounding the tumor.

There are types of squamous cell carcinoma that are more aggressive than others. The most aggressive cases of squamous cell carcinoma spread to the lymph nodes and other body organs if left untreated. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in areas most exposed to the sun rays. The main symptom is a rough growth on the skin called actinic keratosis. The growth changes to an ulcer with a crust and an inflamed base. Treatment involves the removal of the lesions through and excision of the tumor and surrounding tissue.

In the three types of skin cancers, effective treatment is dependent on early detection. In the case of any unusual skin changes, visit our Manhattan or Scarsdale office for a consultation.

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