In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer are the two most common types of skin cancer and usually develop on the head, face, neck, hands and arms.
In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer are the two most common types of skin cancer and usually develop on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is less common, but more serious. It starts in skin cells called melanocytes, which is where the pigment or color of the skin is made.
Anyone can develop skin cancer — even people with darker skin, hair and eyes. However, skin cancer is more common in people who have light-colored skin, hair and eyes.
It’s also more common in those who spend time in the sun without protective clothing, have been sunburned, are over the age of 40 and have a family history of skin cancer.
For simplicity, skin cancers are often classified as either non-melanoma or melanoma. Basal cell cancer, also known as basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell cancer, or squamous cell carcinoma, are the most common non-melanoma skin cancers.
Forty to fifty percent of Americans living to age 65 will develop one of these cancers. Fortunately, these skin cancers rarely spread throughout the body when they’re identified and treated early. However, they can damage surrounding tissue, leading to scars and possible disfigurement.
A less-common, but more aggressive type of skin cancer, called melanoma, starts in the melanocyte, or pigment-producing cells, of the skin. Seventy-five percent of deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma, as this form of cancer has a much greater risk of spreading throughout the body than non-melanoma skin cancer.
Again, it’s important to remember that early detection, screening and diagnosis for all types of skin cancer give the greatest chance for successful treatment.