Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, caused when abnormal cells separate and multiply in the body, producing tumors or solid masses. Anyone can get skin cancer, though it is more likely to occur in individuals who have light skin and are prone to sunburn. Skin cancer is a general term that describes several types of skin cancer. The most common are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Each type presents differently and requires different treatment.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type is usually found on sun-exposed areas of the body, like the lips, ears and scalp. A non-melanoma kind of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is caused by errors within a strand of DNA on the skin’s outer layers. This results in overgrowth of cells that appear on the skin like open sores. The sores may be crusty in appearance or appear to be a red cyst or bump. Exposure to UVA and UVB sunlight can put a person at risk for this type of skin cancer. HPV infections, radiation exposure, atypical moles and tobacco use are also risk factors.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is thought to be an easy-to-treat, non-melanoma type of skin cancer. It’s very common, occurring in 90 percent of all cases. It’s typically seen on sun-exposed areas of the body, like the ears, head and neck. This type commonly appears as a lesion that may or may not bleed. Many people with this type think they have a cut that simply won’t heal.
This type of skin cancer is considered the most serious, life-threatening and most likely to spread. Malignant melanoma often first appears as a mole. There are a number of possible causes for this type of cancer, including UV light exposure, genetics, environment and weak immune systems.
You may be at risk for skin cancer and not even know it. Protect your health by visiting Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta for regular checkups. In most cases, all types of skin cancer can be easily treated if caught early. Contact us today to book an appointment at our office in Alpharetta!