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3 Types of Skin Cancers - Characteristics And Treatment

Mar 21, 2008
People that spend a lot of time outdoors for work or other activities or have a skin type that is sensitive to the sun are advised to be screened for skin cancer at least once a year. During this screening they will be checked out for any changes in the skin that look suspicious. Along with supervised screening it makes sense to screen yourself from time to time for any moles or blemishes that have appeared. Your chances of identifying potential problems are improved if you know a bit about the disease. This article will cover the three types of skin cancer detailing the characteristics of each and possible treatments.

There are 3 types of skin cancers. The first two are the most commonly diagnosed types of the disease. They are also the most treatable because in most cases the disease does not spread but is localized to a particular part of the body. They are easily treated in most cases however on rare occasions they may spread making early diagnose all the more important.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

The most common form of the three types of skin cancer is known as basal cell carcinoma. Typical signs of basal cell carcinoma are a waxy bump that appears on the face or neck. Other signs are brown or flesh colored marks that may look like an old scar. They can appear anywhere on the body but are more common on the back or chest.

As most cases of basal cell carcinoma are benign and do not spread to other parts of the body treatment is relatively easy and effective. The bump or mark is simply cut out or frozen and removed. This can be done in 30 minutes at a doctor's surgery.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is similar to basal cell carcinoma and has the same methods for treatment. However it is more liable to spread than the other type and therefore needs to be treated immediately it is diagnosed.

A red nodule or bump that is hard or firm to touch is a typical manifestation of squamous cell carcinoma. It will develop from this to have scaly or flaky skin at the surface that may peel. Eventually it will become a lesion that may bleed. It can occur anywhere on the body but the common areas are the face, neck, arms and hands. It can also appear on the lips and ears sometimes. Treatment involves cutting away the carcinoma or freezing it.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the least common of the 3 types of skin cancer however it is the most serious of the three, especially if it goes undiagnosed or untreated. Of the three it is most likely to spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes and vital organs of the body. If this occurs (known as metastasizes) then it becomes difficult to treat and may involve chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments. Early detection is crucial for a melanoma but they are often very hard to identify. This is why it is important to get a screen once a year by a professional in the diagnose of skin cancer.

Knowing the signs and characteristics of the three types of skin cancer will help you to diagnose and treat the disease however prevention is a far better solution. Always put sunscreen on exposed parts of the body when in the sun. Wear a hat and sunglasses. Wear clothing like a long sleeve shirt to cover the arms and torso.
About the Author
For more information on the symptoms and dangers of skin cancer visit http://symptomsofskincancer.net. The site covers skin cancer on the nose and popular sun creams.
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