Skin Cancer At A Glance

* There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (the nonmelanoma skin cancers), and melanoma.
* Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in humans.
* Ultraviolet light, which is in sunlight, is the main cause of skin cancer.
* The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal. Unexplained changes in the appearance of the skin lasting longer than two weeks should be evaluated by a doctor.
* Nonmelanoma skin cancer is generally curable. The cure rate for nonmelanoma skin cancer could be 100% if these lesions were brought to a doctor’s attention before they had a chance to spread.
* Treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer depends on the type and location of the skin cancer, the risk of scarring, as well as the age and health of the patient. Methods used include curettage and desiccation, surgical excision, cryosurgery, radiation, and Mohs micrographic surgery.
* Avoiding sun exposure in susceptible individuals is the best way to lower the risk for all types of skin cancer. Regular surveillance of susceptible individuals, both by self-examination and regular physical examination, is also a good idea for people at higher risk. People who have already had any form of skin cancer should have regular medical checkups.

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