Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancers, affecting more than one million Americans every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives.

 

The good news is that skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.

 

The majority of skin cancers are composed of three different types: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma. Merkel cell carcinoma is rare but more common later in life.

 

Other cancers may migrate to the skin (cutaneous metastases), and some skin conditions arise (cutaneous paraneoplastic syndrome) when a cancer develops in another organ.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It arises from cells residing in the deepest layer of the epidermis and develops more readily when a person is exposed to UV radiation. These cancers tend to be slow-growing and rarely spread (metastasize). Read more...

Overall, melanoma occurs less commonly than basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. However, it is the most common form of cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29, with the incidence in young women rising. It is also the most life-threatening type of skin cancer. Early detection of melanoma is critical as it can spread rapidly through the lymph system and also to internal organs, making melanoma much more serious than non-melanoma skin cancers. Read more...

Squamous cell carcinoma arises from keratinocytes, skin cells found in the upper layers of the skin (epidermis). These cancers often present as crusty or scaly skin lesions that have a red base and may be tender to the touch. Read more...

Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare type of skin cancer that forms with Merkel cells, found on the top layer of skin, grow out of control. It usually starts on areas of the skin that have received a lot of sun exposure, especially the head and neck, but can also affect the arms, legs and trunk. Because Merkel cell carcinoma tends to grow very quickly and metastasize early – to the lymph nodes, other parts of the skin, lungs, brain, bones and other organs – you should have anything suspicious checked immediately. Read more...

A cutaneous metastases often signify the recurrence of a cancer thought to be cured. It is essentially a tumor that has traveled to and grows on the skin. The cancers most likely to spread to the skin are breast, stomach, lung, uterus, large intestine, and kidneys. Read more...

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