Skin Cancer

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. This is typically caused by the sun’s harmful rays and when caught early is easily treatable.

How do I know if I have skin cancer?

Skin cancer can form anywhere on the body even if it only sees a small amount of sun. Skin cancer can also form in uncommon areas like your toenail, mouth, or lip. You can spot skin cancer by evaluating your skin for new growths, changing moles and sites that bleed easily or don’t seem to heal. It is important to have a dermatologist examine you regularly too. If you have had skin cancer in the past, you should check more frequently.

What does skin cancer look like?

Skin cancer can look many different ways.
  • Moles that change shape
  • Scaly moles
  • Sores that heal and return
Identify skin cancer by identifying:
  • Moles that are different from others
  • Moles that change shape and size
  • Moles that itch or bleed
  • Growths that are new, bleed, or do not heal

Have a suspicious spot on your skin?

Anyone can have skin cancer. If you found a spot that you are concerned about making sure to see your dermatologist. A dermatologist can evaluate the growth and take a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. When found early skin cancer is treatable.

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC develops after years of frequent sun exposure and develops in people with fair skin. BCC if left untreated can grow deep and penetrate nerves and bones causing significant damage. Though it is unlikely to spread to distant sites (metastasize), it is important to catch and treat this early.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma most commonly looks like flesh-colored round growth, pinkish.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common type of skin cancer. Most common in fair skin individuals and found on the ear, face, neck, arms, chest, and back.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma most commonly looks like a red, scaly bump or a sore that heals and then recurs.

Melanoma: Melanoma is the most well-known because it can spread and be lethal. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

  • It can develop within an existing mole or start as a new dark spot.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Merkel Cell Carcinoma is a very rare skin cancer found in individuals over the age of 50. Typically found in those with fair skin and rarely wear sun protection.

  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma starts as a flesh-colored bump that then grows.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL): CTCL is a rare blood cancer that comes in many types but most commonly as Mycosis Fungiodes.

  • Mycosis Fungiodes may cause no harm for an entire lifetime or, rarely, it can get progress. In its early stage, it looks like a rash and can be mistaken as eczema or psoriasis.

Skin Cancer Treatments:

There are many types of skin cancer treatment. Treatment varies based on the type of skin cancer, the location, and the severity. Standard treatments may include:
  • Surgery
  • Local Destruction
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Local immunotherapy