Each year, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States and the number of diagnosed cases continue to rise. Treatment has increased by nearly 77% over the past three decades and more people are becoming aware of the impact of skin cancer.
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are types of skin cancers that start in the basal cells or squamous cells of the skin, which is how they get their names. These cells are found in the outer layer of the skin. Most basal and squamous cell cancers develop on sun-exposed areas of the skin, like the face, ears, neck, lips, and the backs of the hands. Basal cell cancers grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Squamous cell cancers are more likely to grow into deeper layers of skin and to spread, although this is still not common. Both basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early – when they are small and have not spread. But either type can cause problems if it is left untreated.
Melanoma, the form of cancer we hear about most in the news, is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes – the cells that make the brown skin pigment known as melanin, which gives the skin its color. Melanin helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Melanoma can start on nearly any part of the skin, even in places that are not normally exposed to the sun, such as the genital or anal areas. It can also start in other parts of the body, such as in the eyes or mouth. Melanoma is almost always curable when it’s found in its very early stages. Although melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancers, it’s much more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body, where it can be hard to treat. Because of this, melanoma causes most skin cancer deaths, accounting for nearly 10,000 of the more than 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year.
Skin cancer can be found early, and both people and their doctors play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any concerns about your skin and the possibility of an abnormality on your skin, contact your doctor right away.Tags: Basal skin cancer, cell, melanoma, skin, skin cancer, skin cell, skin pigment, squamous skin cancer, US skin cancer