Although it is the most life-threatening form of skin cancer, melanoma is not the only kind of skin cancer that is currently affecting millions in the U.S. and worldwide. To further raise awareness during Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, we’d like to give you a quick rundown of the two most common forms of skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma: This is the most common form of skin cancer — about 8 out of 10 skin cancers are BCC. These cancers typically develop on areas that have had lots of sun exposure, like the head, neck and hands. When you do a self-exam, look for the following:
- Dome-shaped skin growth–often pink or skin-colored.
- Shiny pink or red bumps or patches
- Open sores that bleed easily and won’t heal
- Elevated growth with central depression
BCC’s can take any of these forms. The cancers tend to grow slowly, and they rarely spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body, making them the least dangerous. If basal cell carcinoma does go untreated, though, it can grow into nearby tissues beneath the skin and do damage. It is common for this type of cancer to recur, often within five years of the last one.
Squamous cell carcinoma: This is the second most common form of skin cancer — about 2 out of 10 skin cancers are SCC. These cancers commonly develop on sun-exposed areas, especially the face, lips, ears, neck and backs of hands, but they can also appear inside the mouth and genitals, or begin in scars or actinic keratoses. Look for the following signs of SCC on your skin:
- Rough-feeling bump or lump
- Open sore that won’t heal
- Flat, reddish, scaly patch
- Dome-shaped growth that gets crusty or bleeds
If squamous cell carcinoma is allowed to advance it will spread to lymph nodes and distant parts of the body, causing severe health problems.
The good news is that almost every form of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma can be cured, especially when the cancer is found and treated early. If you have any concerns about a spot or patch on your skin, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with a dermatologist who can assess the spot and perform a skin biopsy.
Your health is worth it. Contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology today to get started.