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Types of Skin Cancers

11 October 2012, 11:35 Marcela De Vivo

Everyone fears being diagnosed with cancer which is an “abnormal growth of cells”. Approximately one million people a year have that fear validated when they are diagnosed with skin cancer. 

One major cause of skin cancer in general is over-exposure to ultra-violet rays either from the sun or tanning beds.

There are three different types of skin cancer ranging from a type that is easily curable to a type that can be life-threatening. All types are curable if found early. All types present with an unusual spot or skin lesion that resembles a mole.

In order to determine the type of skin cancer and treatment options, the lesion must be biopsied. Following this information for each type:

1)    Basal cell carcinoma.
This is the most curable type of skin cancer. It is isolated and rarely, if ever, spreads to other organs. It is slow-growing and 100 percent curable. In addition to exposure to ultra-violet rays, it can be caused by radiation that is used as treatment for other cancers.
2)    Squamous cell carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma is more serious than basal cell. It rarely spreads to other organs of the body but is more likely to spread than is basal cell carcinoma. If a squamous cell lesion begins on the lower lip, it is more likely to spread than when found in other skin locations.

In addition to the skin, this type of cancer is also found in the lining of the lungs and digestive tract. Besides being caused by sun exposure, it can also be caused by exposure to arsenic, common x-rays or drugs that suppress the immune system.

3)    Melanoma.

Melanoma is by far the most serious type of skin cancer. If it is found early, it is curable. The problem is that it is faster growing than the other types of skin cancer and readily spreads to other organs.

Another problem is that it looks like a mole when it first develops and is more common in people who have a number of non-cancerous moles on their body. It is important for these people to examine themselves frequently for any new mole or any change in moles already noticed.

There is a genetic component to melanoma so if a close relative has experienced it, the risk of developing this type of skin cancer is greater.

Treatment for all skin cancers.

Treatment begins with removing the lesion. Broad areas around the lesion, particularly with melanoma, need to be excised to ensure that all cancerous cells are removed.

Depending on the type, biopsy results and location of the lesion, a topical cream may be used. In some cases, radiation treatment may be necessary.

If an unexplained skin lesion lasts longer than two weeks, a doctor should be consulted.

Follow Women24 on Twitter.

Marcela De Vivo writes about skin brightening and skin health for Skintrium, Inc.  She loves to share information and tips on how to have beauty and glowing skin.

- Women24


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