Skin cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the skin cells. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer, and are usually caused by long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These types of skin cancer typically grow slowly and are usually not life-threatening, but can cause disfigurement if left untreated.
Melanoma is less common but more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It can develop anywhere on the skin and can spread to other parts of the body if not detected and treated early. Melanoma is also usually caused by exposure to UV radiation, but can also be caused by genetic factors.
Risk factors for skin cancer include fair skin, history of sunburns or excessive sun exposure, family history of skin cancer, history of using tanning beds or lamps, and weakened immune system.
The signs of skin cancer may include changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion, a sore that does not heal, or a new growth on the skin. It is important to have any suspicious moles or lesions checked by a healthcare provider.
Treatment for skin cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. The specific treatment plan will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the individual’s overall health and preferences.
Prevention measures for skin cancer include protecting skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen with a high SPF, seeking shade when possible, and avoiding tanning beds or lamps.
Regular skin exams by a healthcare provider are also important for early detection and treatment of skin cancer. People should talk to their healthcare provider about their risk for skin cancer and how to reduce their risk.