Skin cancer manifests itself in three different forms. These three types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Each type varies in the frequency of their appearance and the seriousness of their threats.
Many skin cancer tumors can be successfully treated when they remain on the surface of the skin. It is crucial to detect them early enough that doctors can provide the necessary treatment of these cancers with surgery and avoid having to use more aggressive therapies, such as radiation therapy.
Skin cancer is usually caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight, though a patient’s genetic background also appears to have an influence over the likelihood of contracting this form of cancer. This type of skin cancer is much more prevalent in climates that experience long period of consecutive sunlight.
For this reason, skin cancer experts recommend that people wear sun block with a high sun protection factor (SPF) if they are going to be in direct sun light for long periods of time. It is also recommended that you reapply sun block regularly throughout the day and make use of shaded areas.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma, also known as BCC, usually appears as a bump on a patient’s face or neck. The shiny coloring of this bump is an unusual white or pink and it is quite a distinct pattern from the surrounding skin. It is not uncommon to have more than one of these bumps when the cancer is first detected. However, this cancer does not spread to other parts of the body. It only penetrates deeper into the tissues beneath the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Like BCC, this form of cancer also appears on the face. However, it also manifests itself on the skin covering the limbs. In its early stages, before it penetrates beneath the skin, such a tumor can appear as a patch of dry, crusted skin. This cancer, unlike BCC, is able to spread to other parts of the body. For this reason, it should be detected and treated as soon as possible.
Melanoma is the least common but the most dangerous form of skin cancer. One of the most dangerous traits of melanoma tumors is their resemblance to normal moles or freckles on the surface of the skin. This often confuses patients and does not cause them to seek medical help until the tumor has become much more noticeable and it has reached a more advanced stage.
If you are concerned about a mole or discoloration of the skin, get it checked out as early as possible. Early detection will significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.