If current trends continue, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. That is more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed each year. Unlike most other cancer diagnoses, however, skin cancer if diagnosed early is almost always easily curable. The best surveillance is annual full skin examinations with a dermatologist and regular self-examinations.
The most common types of skin cancer are listed below:
- Basal cell carcinoma: This is the most common skin cancer. It is slow growing and almost never metastasizes (spreads through the body). It appears as a small, shiny pink or scaly pink growth that may bleed easily.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of skin cancer appears as red or pink scaly patches or bumps. It can metastasize if left untreated.
- Melanoma: This is the least common, but the most dangerous, as they may spread quickly if not identified and treated early. They are usually enlarging brown or black moles with irregular borders, color and/or shapes. A melanoma may occur within an existing mole or as new mole.
Always consult a dermatologist if you have an enlarging skin growth or a non-healing sore. Depending on the size of the growth, skin cancer or pre-cancerous lesions may be removed by liquid nitrogen or surgical removal, or prescription creams.