Skin cancer is a common form of cancer that mostly develops on the skin exposed to the sun, such as your face, back, and hands. However, it can also occur in other areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. Limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation can help you reduce your risk of skin cancer Coral Gables and checking your skin for abnormal changes can help you detect skin cancer at its early stages. Early detection of skin cancer improves the chances of successful treatment. Below are the three major types of skin cancer and their signs and symptoms.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that usually starts in the basal cells – a kind of cell that produces new cells as old ones die. It usually appears as a slightly transparent bump or a sore that won’t heal. Basal cell carcinoma can also occur as a brown, black, or blue lesion, a flat scaly patch with a raised edge, or a white, waxy, scar-like lesion. Most of the time, this type of skin cancer develops due to chronic sun exposure, which exposes you to more UV radiation. The ultraviolet radiation damages the DNA in basal cells resulting in a mutation that causes the cells to multiply rapidly.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells that make up your skin’s middle and outer layers. It is usually not life-threatening but can be aggressive, especially when left untreated. Like most types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma results from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. UV radiations can also be from lamps or tanning beds. Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a firm, red nodule, a sore with a scaly crust, a scaly patch on the lip that evolves into a sore, or a red, raised patch in your anus or your genitals.
You can reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by avoiding the sun during the middle of the day when the rays are strongest, wearing sunscreen all year round, checking your skin for any abnormalities, and reporting the changes to your doctor.
Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce melanin (melanocytes). It can form anywhere in your body but mostly in areas that often get sun exposure, such as the face, neck, back, arms, and legs. They can appear as moles with irregular shapes and borders. These moles vary in characteristics, so you should report any abnormal skin changes to your doctor to help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages.
Skin cancer often develops in areas most exposed to the sun, including the face, ears, lips, scalp, chest, hands, arms, and legs. However, other parts that rarely see the light of the day, such as your palms, toenails, and genital area, are not exempted. It can also affect anyone regardless of skin tone. But melanoma is also likely to occur in areas not exposed to sunlight, including feet’ hands, and soles in people with darker complexions.
Consult your healthcare provider at Martha Viera, MD, if you have further questions to learn more.