One in five Americans will develop skin cancer sometime in their life, with 9,500 of us diagnosed every single day. Factors that increase your risk for developing skin cancer include getting five or more sunburns in your life and having fair skin. However, if detected early, skin cancer has a survival rate of 99%.
Martha Viera, MD and the rest of our team at Martha Viera Dermatology want you to know about the three types of skin cancer and how to spot them in order to encourage early prevention and treatment.
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that’s most often caused by the sun’s damaging UV rays. Typically, when old skin cells die, new ones will form to replace them. However, if this process doesn’t go as it should, a cluster of skin cells can form. This growth can be benign, or noncancerous, or it can be cancerous and spread to other parts of your body if it goes untreated.
Skin cancer usually forms on areas of your body that get lots of sun exposure like your scalp, face, arms, neck, ears, and chest.
The three types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer, but melanoma is the most dangerous.
Basal cell carcinoma will appear after years of exposure to the sun or tanning beds. This type of skin cancer can look like a small and waxy bump, a flat flesh-colored lesion, or a pink-tinted patch of skin.
You can keep an eye out for basal cell carcinoma on your head, neck, and arms. If basal cell carcinoma goes untreated, it can cause damage to your nerves and bones.
Squamous cell carcinoma most often appears on your face, ears, and hands and looks like a firm and red bump, scaly patch of skin, or a sore that heals and then reopens. When it’s able to develop and spread, squamous cell carcinoma can lead to disfigurement.
Melanoma can easily develop anywhere on your skin, even areas that haven’t been exposed to the sun. Melanoma can take many forms, including:
Early detection is most important in melanoma since it’s the most dangerous form skin cancer can take.
It’s always important to note any changes in your skin and to report them to our team right away. We offer skin cancer screenings in order to determine what kind you have and the prognosis. We’re then able to come up with a treatment plan that’s best for you and your health needs.
To learn more about skin cancer or to set up an appointment with Dr. Viera and our team, call our office located in Coral Gables, Florida at 954-287-2515 or use our online scheduler today.