The major cause of skin cancer is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. There are three types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. BCC and SCC are known as non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and about 10 percent of the cases are hereditary. Proper knowledge about early detection and symptoms of skin cancer are very essential. Actinic keratosis (AK) is the most common warning signal of skin cancer in fair-skinned people. BCC is the most common form of skin cancer, but very rarely leads to serious disease. SCC is less common, but it may progress and invade other parts of the body, making it potentially very serious.
Following are some of the important facts to know about Skin Cancer:
For skin cancer diagnosis, a dermatologist may use techniques like skin examination, dermoscopy (procedure using a hand-held instrument that magnifies the skin surface) or by performing a biopsy of the skin section.
The ‘ABCDEs’ of melanoma describe the key features to identify a melanoma in an easy-to-remember list as follows:
For non-melanoma skin cancer, the key warnings signs are as follows:
The most common treatment for skin cancer is surgery to remove the cancer (usually under a local anesthesia). Common skin cancers can be treated with ointments or radiotherapy. Skin cancer can also be removed with cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen to rapidly freeze the cancer off), curettage (scraping) or cautery (burning).