Of all cancer types, skin cancer is by far the most prevalent. This cancer type affects more than two million people in the United States alone every year.
When caught and treated early on, skin cancer is very curable.
The Types of Skin Cancer
There are five primary types of skin cancer:
- Actinic keratosis
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Kaposi’s sarcomas
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Of the above, melanoma is the most rare skin cancer type. However, melanoma causes the majority of skin cancer deaths – 77% of skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma. Actinic keratosis is the most basic skin cancer type, and is a precursor to more serious cancer types, such as squamous cell carcinoma.
The Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can occur in an already-existing mole or skin lesion, or may form anew. The warning signs of skin cancer include any skin lesions that increase in size; changes in color, texture, or outlines; a new mole that appears after age 21; a lesion that is bleeding, excessively dry, has pus, or is scabbed; and a mole/lesion that has irregular or jagged borders. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to the sun. If you notice any of the above, it is important that you seek medical care as soon as possible.
When caught early on, skin cancer is very treatable. When ignored and left untreated though, skin cancer can be fatal.
How to Treat Skin Cancer
The treatment method that your dermatologist uses will depend upon the type of skin cancer that you have as well as the phase that the skin cancer is in. Usually, treatment options will include one or a combination of the following:
Surgical treatment – Surgical treatment may be used to physically remove a cancerous lesion from the body. The skin will be numbed, and then the lesion will be cut out of the skin. Often times, the skin around the lesion will also be removed in case cancer cells have spread to healthy-looking skin.
Chemotherapy – If the skin cancer has spread to the lymphatic system of the body’s vital systems, then chemotherapy may be required to terminate the cancer cells. This is a more extreme cancer treatment method that is reserved for the most serious of skin cancers.
Cryosurgery – In cryosurgery, your dermatologist will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin cancer, resulting in its death. This is an effective treatment option for small, stage one cancer spots.
Other treatment options may include immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy that is applied to the skin.
If you notice a spot on your body that appears irregular, don’t wait to have it looked at. The faster you act, the better.
Seek Treatment for Your Skin Cancer Today
Visit a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible to have any irregular spots on your body checked out. If it is skin cancer, it is important that you take action immediately – otherwise, you increase your risk of serious harm or death. Use the buttons below to find a clinician or location near you that treats skin cancer.