What You Need to Know About Squamous Cell, Basal Cell, and Melanoma
Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Due to the facts that skin cancer is very common and often curable, it is estimated that some cases are not reported to cancer registries. Thus, the statistics about skin cancer may be dangerously skewed. Here’s a look at some statistics that may help put how serious skin cancer is into perspective:
- An estimated three million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer every year.
- Basal cell carcinoma is more common that squamous cell carcinoma. In fact, approximately 80% of non-melanoma skin cancer is basal cell type.
- Approximately 2,000 people die from squamous cell or basal cell skin cancer every year. Alternatively, more than 10,000 people die each year from melanoma.
Differences Between the Types of Skin Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the cells that create the middle and outer skin layers. Basal cell carcinoma develops in the basal cells, which are the skin cells that produce new cells as the old ones die. Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer. It develops in the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin color.
While the exact cause is unclear, exposure to UV radiation will increase your level of risk for melanoma, as well as squamous cell carcinoma and/or basal cell carcinoma. As you can see, sun exposure is one of the main causes of these types of skin cancers. Other factors include:
- Artificial tanning
- Fair skin
- Precancerous skin conditions
- A history of sunburn/fragile skin
- Previous skin cancer
- Human papillomavirus
The Importance of Early Detection
As with any cancer, early detection and treatment provides the best cure rates. Early detection is especially important with melanoma, because if this type of skin cancer is not treated early it can be fatal.
At the Laser Lipo and Vein Center we urge our patients to perform a self-exam each and every month. This will allow early detection of any possible skin cancers. If you would like to know more about skin cancer, whether you may be in a risk group, or how to properly do a monthly self-exam, please contact us! We want to ensure that you have all the information and tools that will help keep you as healthy as possible!