Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer annually. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of his or her lifetime. Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. If left untreated, the disease can be deadly, but if skin cancer is caught while still in its early stages, the outlook is usually positive.
I Want an Overview of Skin Cancer
The quicker skin cancer is detected, the better the long-term outlook. Learn about the types (and subtypes) of skin cancer and see pictures of how each one affects the skin.
While skin cancers most often appear as a suspicious mole, freckle, or spot, the particulars depend on the type of skin cancer. Read about symptoms of common, and less common, skin cancers.
Many factors can contribute to or increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including sunburns and having a family history of the disease. Find out what's in your control and what may not be.
In some cases, skin cancer can lead to complications, including cancer recurrence or spreading. Catch cancer early to prevent these potential problems.
What Are the Types of Skin Cancer?
A diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma means a cancer tumor in the deepest level of the epidermis, or top layer of skin. See images that explain how this cancer works and how it affects the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is most commonly formed on parts of your body exposed to the sun’s rays, like your arms, legs, face, hands, neck, and lips. But, it can also develop inside your mouth or on your genitals.
Melanoma is one of the least common forms of skin cancer, but it’s also the most deadly type because it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Know how it looks to get the treatment you need.
Malignant melanoma of the eye is a rare condition that can occur when the eye has been exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation (sunlight). People with fair skin or blue eyes are most affected by this type of cancer.
I Want to Get Tips on Protection
Making smart behavioral changes and lifestyle choices can prevent skin cancer from ever developing. Know how you can avoid this potentially deadly condition, or at least reduce your risk.
You can perform this test on yourself to check for abnormalities in your skin, such as sores, bumps, or changes in skin color or texture. It’s an important way to screen for dangerous skin conditions.
Clothing and hats are among the simplest and most effective ways to guard your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Manufacturers have even begun adding sun-blocking chemicals to clothes.
If you have a burning desire for a glowing tan, there's something you should know. A tan or a sunburn is your body's indication that you have been exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Indoor tanning comes with cancer risks. That hasn't stopped some young people who are more concerned about looking good. Luckily, there are ways to improve the look of your skin without tanning.
I Want to Know About Treatments
Some forms of skin cancer are generally treated with surgery or chemotherapy, but there are drug options as well. Medication for skin cancer depends largely on the type of cancer being treated.
Some natural treatments can help stave off skin cancer. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or making any dietary changes to ensure they don’t interfere with any medications you are currently taking.
I Want to Learn About Melanoma
Though not the most common, melanoma is the most dangerous of skin cancers. It often goes undetected, and can metastasize to other organs and areas of the body. Understand this serious type.
Melanoma can appear on normal skin, or it may develop around an existing mole. If the melanoma is detected early, before it has the chance to spread, it is much more likely to be cured.
Certain groups are more at risk than others for developing the disease. But in addition to the aspects of your life you can't control, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Found early, most melanomas are curable. But left undetected, the disease can spread to other parts of the body making it harder to treat, and potentially fatal. Getting a proper diagnosis is invaluable.
Once melanoma is diagnosed, imaging and other tests may be done to see if the cancer has spread. Typically, these tests are not required for cases of early melanoma, since it is unlikely that the disease has spread.
Your general practitioner will likely be the first person you speak to about potential skin cancer. But they aren't the only person who will help you along the way. Here's a comprehensive list of doctors who treat melanoma.
Treatment is determined by the stage of melanoma. Early stages of melanoma can typically be treated with surgery to remove the cancerous cells. The U.S. FDA has also approved certain drug treatments.
Early melanoma can normally be treated with surgery, but more advanced cases are more challenging. Learn about treatment options, including immunotherapy, radiation, and others.
All new treatments must be thoroughly tested before they're approved. Clinical trials are used to evaluate new treatments. Join a trial to be included in the vanguard of melanoma treatment.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are directed at alleviating stress and pain, rather than aimed at curing melanoma. Know your CAM options, from diet to mind-body therapies.
Melanoma is described by stages. A particular stage of the disease gives an idea of how far the cancer has spread. Find out how prognosis and life expectancy change as melanoma spreads.
Stage 3 melanoma means that cancer is present in not just the skin cells at the time of diagnosis, but also the lymph nodes. Treatments, outlooks, and recurrence rates are all unique for this advanced stage.