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Types of Skin Cancer

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Updated July 01, 2014

Types of Skin Cancer
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Question: Types of Skin Cancer
I read that there are many types of skin cancer and that some are even deadly. What are the different types of skin cancer? What symptoms should I look for?
Answer: There are three types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each type is unique, produces different symptoms, and has varying treatment methods.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. This skin cancer type usually develops in places on the body that have been exposed to the sun, like ears, the face and the mouth, but can develop anywhere on the body. Symptoms include a bump that turns in to an open sore (ulceration, reddish, flat spot that is sometimes crusty, a bump that gets larger and a sore that won't heal. When left untreated, it can spread quickly to other parts of the body, like the lymphatic system, bloodstream, and nerve routes.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Accounting for more than 75% of skin cancers diagnosed, basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly developed skin cancer. These carcinomas are most commonly found on the face, neck, and hands. It is considered highly treatable and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms include a sore that oozes or bleeds, a redness area that is irritated, a yellow or white area that resembles a scar, and a pink pearly bump.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer.It can develop on any part of the body, however the arms, legs and trunk are the most common area of the body. When detected early, it is considered highly treatable.Symptoms include a mole, freckle, or new/existing spot that changes color in size, shape, and color. It may have an irregular outline and possible be more than one color.

Your best defense in preventing skin cancer is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. When you are outdoors, be sure to always wear a sunscreen, and stay in a shady area if possible!

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