Skin Cancers

*Three Main Types
-basal cell carcinoma
*The most common form of skin cancer, characterized by small, shiny, raised bumps on the skin that may bleed
*Almost 1 million cases each year in America
*If left untreated the cancer continues to grow
*Caused by exposure to large amounts of sunlight;commonly on the neck, face, and arms can also be genetic
*Slow growing
*Rarely spreads to other parts of the body, can be easy to treat
*A procedure to remove the cancer, typically by cutting out the affected area or treating with a topical chemotherapy


-squamous cell carcinoma
*cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells resembling fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts.
*Shows up on the face, neck, ears, and back of the hands. Not as common as Basal Cell Carcinoma but is more aggressive. Still this cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body
*2nd most common
*affects about 20 percent of patients with skin cancer
*Red, scaly skin that becomes an open sore
*More than 250,000 people are diagnosed every year in U.S.
*Middle aged and Elderly people usually with fair complexions and frequent exposure to sun are most likely to be affected
*Can be completely removed with relatively minor surgery or occasionally with a topical medication
*Freezing cancerous cells with liquid nitrogen is for small cancer cells
*Laser therapy, an intense beam of light that vaporizes growths
*Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also know treatments


-malignant melanoma
*type of skin tumor that is characterized by the cancerous growth of melanocytes, which are cells that produce a dark pigment called melanin
*a rare but deadly skin cancer that begins as a mole and turns cancerous
*The most fatal kind of skin cancer
*Surgical removal
*Adjuvant interferon is the only adjuvant therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for high risk melanoma
*Various experimental melanoma vaccines also show promise in the adjuvant setting