Skin cancer is one of the most common diseases. Your skin accounts for over 15% of your body and is your first line of defense against the elements. It protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Skin cancer begins in the epidermis and can occur anywhere on the body. Here are just a few of the types of skin cancers and treatment options available.
Basal and Squamous Cell
These types of skin cancer begins in the lower part of the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis. Basal cell appears like a small white bump that grows slowly and may bleed. Squamous cells may appear as a firm red bump, scaly red patch, an open sore, or a wart. This is usually caused from too much sun exposure and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Try to avoid sunlight as much as you can during the sun’s strongest rays, which are between the hours of 10am and 4 pm. If you are outside in the sunlight, wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Avoid tanning beds, check in with your doctor regularly and report any changes to your skin.
Melanoma is a less common form of skin cancer, but it’s more likely to grow and spread. This can develop anywhere on the skin but more likely they are to start on the chest or back. It’s not usually clear as to what exactly causes melanoma, some say it’s genes but they still don’t know why some moles become more dangerous than others. If you suspect a mole might be new or cancerous, talk with your dermatologist to see if they can get it tested.
This is a more rare type of skin cancer. It starts nearly in any part of the body and can spread to other parts. This can often start on skin that’s exposed to the sun, like the face, neck, and arms. They often can look like firm, pink, red, or purple lumps or bumps and they don’t hurt. If you are diagnosed with Merkel cell skin cancer, there are some treatment options to consider. Your doctor might recommend surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and or immunotherapy. Talk with your doctor to determine which one is best for you.
Lymphoma is a skin cancer that starts in white blood cells which are part of the immune system. Those who have a weakened immune system or have had an organ transplant, seem to have a greater chance of developing skin lymphoma but it’s not clear why. Making sure your immune system stays healthy might be a good idea to limit the risk of this type of skin cancer. If you are diagnosed with lymphoma, talk with your doctor about the right treatment option for you. Those treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, UV light therapy, or medications.
There are many other types of skin cancers to research and test for. If you have any concerns about certain areas of your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. The earlier it is determined that you have skin cancer, the better the treatments will be. Contact Allen-Taintor Dermatology to schedule your next dermatologist appointment today!