Birth Center

Skin Cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer. These include basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma. The symptoms of a skin cancer include a skin spot that changes, bleeds, is non-healing, or changes colors. There are certain characteristics of skin spots or lesions that your health care provider will assess when examining your skin. A biopsy may be necessary to diagnose a lesion.

Basal cell cancers are the most common cancers of all types. They generally occur on sun-exposed areas. They can be treated by destroying or removing the lesion. The potential for metastasis (or spread) to other areas is extremely low.

Squamous cell cancers are common. They also occur in sun-exposed areas. Treatment requires either destruction by chemicals, heat or cold, or surgical removal. The potential for metastasis is relatively low.

Melanoma is the most dangerous of the skin cancers because it has a relatively high potential for spread to other organs. Early detection and removal of the tumor is the most effective treatment. Close monitoring is necessary to monitor for spread after diagnosis of melanoma.

Generally, individuals should protect the skin from intense sun exposure. Covering the skin with clothing or with sun block is felt to be protective. There are effective sun blocks available. Also, a wide rimmed hat can be helpful.

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