As the prevalence of skin cancer increases amongst men and women in the U.S, questions have begun to arise surrounding the origins of skin cancer. Recent statistics show that approximately 5.4 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, making it the most common form of cancer to date. Additionally, melanoma was noted as the deadliest form of skin cancer according to research carried out in 2016 accounting for nearly 76,000 fatal cases. Groups of individuals who are at a heightened risk for developing skin cancer as well as those looking to take preventative measures often wonder about the skin cancer signs, risks, symptoms, and causes surrounding different forms of skin cancer. Understanding the basics is a great start in being able to understand what skin cancer is and how to identify it early on.
While the umbrella term “skin cancer” is referenced frequently amongst patients, this type of cancer presents in a variety of forms. Understanding the difference between types of skin cancer is a first step in not only identifying but quickly treating skin cancer in the event of a diagnosis. It’s important to note that skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body but tends to be most noticeable on those areas of skin that are frequently exposed to the sun or UV rays. That being said, the development of skin cancer is not exclusive to exposed skin but can also show up in more hidden areas such as between toes and on the back of the knees.
Basal cell carcinoma is considered the least dangerous of the three types of skin cancer that are currently able to be identified. It frequently appears on the face, neck and upper torso as a dry, scaly area. In some cases, basal cell carcinoma presents as a small lump.
Squamous cell carcinoma is categorized as slightly more dangerous for patients than basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is known to spread rather quickly to other parts of the body, making an early diagnosis and quick treatment essential for patients who are diagnosed with this form of skin cancer. Often linked to extreme sun exposure, squamous cell carcinoma presents as red, scaly spots on the skin that may crust over or in some cases, ulcerate.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer a patient can be diagnosed with. Melanoma is a fast-spreading form of cancer that often shows up initially as a flat spot or mole on the skin that presents with uneven or jagged borders.
It is highly recommended that men and women take time to perform a skin check at least once a month at home in order to take stock of existing moles, skin lesions and discolorations, check for any skin cancer signs, and monitor any noticeable changes over time. A regular self-exam is a strategic move in staying one step ahead of a skin cancer diagnosis and provides options for a timely follow-up with a medical professional when changes are noticed. Those high-risk individuals with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer may be encouraged to perform a self-check more regularly than once a month.
Additionally, it’s important that an annual skin check is done by a dermatologist or other medical professional to get a more comprehensive look at the condition of the skin. Individuals that are prone to moles will want to keep a close eye on any differences noticed between one self-check and another. Asymmetrical moles, as well as those that change in color, size or texture over time could possibly be one of the skin cancer signs, and should immediately be examined by a doctor.
Early detection is key to beating skin cancer in the event of a diagnosis and the team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center is proud to offer patients a full-service selection of skincare and treatment options right at our clinic. Whether you’re interested in an evaluation, cancer screening, annual exam or treatment options, Dr. Wright has the experience to offer first-class care. Contact us today for more information on our preventative and treatment services related to skin cancer or to inquire about any of our other cosmetic services.
Your journey to a healthier you begins by scheduling an initial consultation with Dr. Wright. During this consultation, Dr. Wright will review each patient’s medical history, answer questions and make sure all of the treatment and cosmetic options are understood before putting a personalized treatment plan in place. A consultation is a great time to ask questions, voice concerns and have inquire about combined services.
At the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center, we’re committed to providing patients with a comprehensive care experience. We can’t wait to welcome you to our clinic and begin this journey to change alongside you. Contact us today to get your consultation booked.