What are High Risk Skin Cancers?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. While there are several types of skin cancer, some are considered to be high risk and require special attention. These include melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment, called melanocytes. It is considered to be the most dangerous form of skin cancer because it has the ability to spread to other parts of the body, known as metastasis. Melanoma is often characterized by a change in the color, size, or shape of a mole on the skin. It is important to detect and treat melanoma early, as it can be highly curable if caught in its early stages.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells, which are the cells that make up the outermost layer of the skin. It is less common than basal cell carcinoma but more likely to spread to other parts of the body. SCC often presents as a scaly or crusty patch of skin, or a growth that may bleed or crust. It is important to detect and treat SCC early, as it can be highly curable if caught in its early stages.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 80% of all skin cancer cases. It typically develops on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, and hands. BCC often appears as a raised, flesh-colored or pink bump or a flat, scaly, flesh-colored or pink patch. It is considered a low-risk cancer and is rarely life-threatening, but if left untreated, it can cause disfigurement.
Risk factors for high risk skin cancer include: fair skin, light hair and eyes, family history of skin cancer, history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, and having a large number of moles or freckles. It is important to protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure during the peak hours of the day.
Regular self-examinations and regular check-ups with a dermatologist can help to detect skin cancer early and increase the chances of successful treatment. It is important to be aware of any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of moles or other skin growths, as well as any new or unusual moles or growths.
In conclusion, high risk skin cancers such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma are serious conditions that require prompt attention. Risk factors include fair skin, light hair and eyes, family history of skin cancer, history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, and having a large number of moles or freckles. It is important to protect your skin from the sun and to perform regular self-examinations and to schedule regular check-ups with a dermatologistto increase the chances of early detection and successful treatment.