More than 3.3 million people are treated annually for non-melanoma skin cancer and over 76,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed this year. In the last 30 years, more people have had skin cancers than all other types of cancer combined. In fact, one in five Americans is likely to develop skin cancer.
While skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and is generally highly treatable, it should still be taken seriously. You should seek a medical evaluation if you notice a suspicious lesion or mark anywhere on your skin. The good news is that, in addition to being the most common type of cancer, skin cancer is also the most preventable cancer. Research indicates that protecting your skin before you turn 18 can reduce your risk of some types of skin cancer by as much as 78 percent.
There are three main types of skin cancer – basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.
Basal cell skin cancer is the most prevalent and least dangerous type of skin cancer. It generally appears on the head, neck or upper torso and grows slowly. Spots, blemishes, freckles and moles are signs of sun-damaged skin. They are usually harmless but if you notice them changing, see a doctor.
While not as dangerous as melanoma, squamous cell skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body over several months. It usually appears as a thickened, red, scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate. It is generally found on those areas of the skin that are most often exposed to the sun.
Risks and Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Most moles, brown spots and other growths on the skin are usually harmless. However, it is a good idea to have an annual skin check by a professional healthcare provider. Older adults, people who are fair-skinned or those who have a lot of moles are generally at greater risk, so it is important to know your skin well and recognize any changes that you see on your body.
Here are some easy ways to recognize if a mole or other skin lesion may be cancerous. Just remember
the ABCs of skin cancer:
Asymmetry: one half of the mole doesn’t match the other
Border: is irregular
Color: is not uniform
Diameter: greater than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)
Evolving: size, shape or color changes
With all types of cancer, including skin cancer, early detection and diagnosis can make a big difference in outcomes. If you suspect that you may have skin cancer, consult with your physician immediately. Most skin cancers are easily treated and often cured. For the more serious types, such as melanoma, the earlier the cancer is discovered and treatment begins, the better the outcome.
World-Class Cancer Treatment Close to Home
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has put together a network of expert, board-certified physicians who bring world‐class cancer treatments to local communities, both large and small, across the state. With nearly 100 locations, FCS is the largest independent oncology and hematology group in the United States. That status puts the practice on the leading edge of clinical trial research and gives FCS physicians access to the newest, most innovative treatments.
Florida Cancer Specialists treats patients with all types of cancer and offers a number of services, such as an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house pathology lab and financial counselors at every location. They deliver the most advanced and personalized care in your local community.
Florida Cancer Specialists
9776 Bonita Beach Rd SE,
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Naples – Napa Ridge
6360 Pine Ridge Road,
Naples, FL 34119
Naples – Sierra Meadows
8350 Sierra Meadows Blvd
Naples, FL 34114
681 4th Ave North
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Goodlette
1100 Goodlette Road
Naples, FL 34102
For more information, visit FLCancer.com