Skin Cancer Facts

There are several types of skin cancers. The three most common include:

- Basal cell carcinoma

- Squamous cell carcinoma

- Melanoma

Basal cell cancers usually are firm, brown or red colored swelling with an ulcer in the center.

Squamous cell cancers are usually flat dry lesions which occur on the face.

The majority of cancers which occur on the lower lip are squamous cell cancers

The least dangerous skin cancer is Basal cell and the most dangerous is melanoma.

The two most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Melanoma is rare but by far the most serious skin cancer and has a great tendency to spread rapidly. When it does spread the prognosis is poor.

The most important risk factor for all three skin cancers is prolonged exposure to the sun

In some cases, the skin cancer may be preceded by precancerous growths.

Skin cancers linked to the sun frequently occur on the:

- forehead

- back of the arms

- neck

- cheeks

- lower lips

- nose

- back

Sun damage of the skin takes decades and individuals who have had prolonged exposure since childhood are most susceptible to skin cancers.

To prevent skin cancers, it is essential to prevent the sun damaged acquired during the 2/3rd decade of life.

Besides the sun, other causes of skin cancers include:

- exposure to heavy metals like arsenic

- chronic wounds

- suppressed immune system

- radiation

A preliminary diagnosis of skin cancer can be made on inspection, but all skin cancers can only be confirmed following a skin biopsy

Biopsy of skin cancer is a simple procedure which can be done in the physicians' office.

The skin lesion can easily be excised after injection of a local anesthetic. The skin tissue is then examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis of a cancer

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