Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. Skin cancer can be divided into two main categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and it can spread to other parts of the body if not treated early. Non-melanoma skin cancers are less serious and are usually treated with surgery or other local treatments.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 80 percent of all skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a small, flesh-colored or pink bump on the skin. It can also appear as a flat, scaly patch. Basal cell carcinoma is usually found on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and hands.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears as a firm, red bump or a scaly patch. Squamous cell carcinoma is most often found on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and hands.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It usually appears as a dark, irregularly shaped mole or a spot on the skin. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body if not treated early.
It is important to get screened for skin cancer regularly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone over the age of 18 get a skin cancer screening at least once a year. During a skin cancer screening, a doctor will examine your skin for any suspicious moles or spots. If any suspicious spots are found, a biopsy may be performed to determine if it is cancerous.
If you have a family history of skin cancer, you should talk to your doctor about getting screened more often. People with fair skin, a history of sunburns, or a weakened immune system are also at an increased risk for skin cancer and should talk to their doctor about getting screened more often.
In addition to getting screened for skin cancer, it is important to practice sun safety. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wear protective clothing, and avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours.
By getting screened for skin cancer and practicing sun safety, you can help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. If you have any concerns about skin cancer, talk to your doctor.