Lounging in the sun is a favorite summertime activity for many but, unfortunately, too much sun can lead to sun damage and even skin cancer. Do you know what to look for? Knowing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer can help you to take action quickly—before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Approximately 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime.
Melanoma Isn’t the Only Type of Skin Cancer
You’ve surely heard the warning to watch for changes in your moles. This is one way to spot early signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Melanoma is one of the deadliest types of skin cancer, but it isn’t the only one. There are many different forms of skin cancer, and each type manifests a bit differently.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma– Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It often manifests as a sore that won’t heal, a raised red bump, or a dry, scaly area. This type of cancer rarely spreads to other areas of the body, but can be very large and unsightly. Removing the basal cell carcinoma usually completes treatment.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma– Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Lesions often look like red scaly patches, open sores, or persistent scabs. These may bleed and often continue to get larger with time. There is some risk of this type of cancer spreading to the lymph nodes (depends on size, location, etc.), but most patients can remove the cancer without the need for surgical lymph node examination.
- Melanoma– Melanoma is the deadliest type of common skin cancer. It generally starts in brown pigmented moles. It is very curable if caught before it spreads to other part of the body. Changes in the appearance of a mole can be a warning sign of melanoma. Look for asymmetry, uneven borders, color variations, a diameter of larger than ¼ inch (can be smaller), and evolving changes. If a mole changes, get it checked! Early surgical removal is often sufficient treatment when paired with regular monitoring by a dermatologist.
Treatment Options for Skin Cancer
If you have skin cancer, come see Dr. Lewis. He has a great deal of experience removing these common cancers. He can also use cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of an area previously treated for skin cancer. Surgical excision of the cancer is common and usually sufficient treatment if done early enough. Act early before the cancer spreads and becomes more difficult to treat.