Cancer. This is such a small word, but a very large and devastating disease. Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by cancer one way or another. According to the American Cancer Society, every year more than one million people are diagnosed with cancer. Skin Cancer is one of the most common types of cancers. Breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined are still less than all the cases of skin cancer that are diagnosed in a year. Nearly half of all Americans who live to age sixty-five are expected to acquire skin cancer at least one time in their life, according to Medicinenet.com. The three types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It grows very slow and rarely spreads. Basal Cell is easy to find and just as easy to treat. The basal cell layer of skin is the top layer, and this is where the cancer emerges as a tiny bump. Basal cell rarely spreads. When basal cell carcinoma goes untreated or unnoticed it can spread just like any other type of cancer, causing damage to nerves and even bones. Sometimes this cancer is hard to spot because they can resemble skin tags or moles. Watching for changes in your skins appearance is very important. When looking at your skin check for new growths or sores that won’t heal. The sore will be open. It will bleed, ooze, and crusts for a few weeks; it will heal but then opens back up again and the process will restart. Also look for an area that is irritated or a red patch of skin, normally on the face, chest, shoulders, arms or legs. Although, some can go unnoticed others may itch and cause discomfort. It can be pink, red, white, black, brown, and even tan. Thus, making it easily confused with a mole. Anyone can get BCC but there are certain traits that make you more susceptible to it. Those physical traits are light-colored or freckled skin, blue, green, or gray eyes, blond or red hair, and people who do not tan easily. Not using sunscreen or covering yourself up when spending a large amount of time outside. Using tanning beds can also be a factor in causing BCC. Having a family history of basal cell can also be a factor. After having one spot of basal cell it is likely that you will have another spot later in life. Even a family history of basal cell carcinoma can be a reason that you would get basal cell. A few months ago my mother was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. She had a spot on her nose near the corner of her eye, which is a dangerous spot. When she went to the dermatologist in St. Louis they did the biopsy on the spot and also acquired the results right away. He recommended that they take as much as they could out that day. She had BCC that had grown rapidly and the doctor was worried it would spread to her eye so they treated it immediately. The doctor told my mom also that in most cases of basal cell carcinoma, within 5 years of the first spot found they have at least one or more spots that will needed to be treated. Basal cell carcinoma is approximately eight out of every ten non-melanoma skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Two million eight hundred thousand cases of BCC are diagnosed every year in the United States. It makes up eighty percent of all skin cancers that are diagnosed. The second most common type of skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This cancer is in the squamous cells that are in the upper layers of skin. Most of the time the people who have this type of skin cancer have fair, pale skin, light hair, and blue, green, or gray eyes. Anyone who has spent a long time out in the sun is at risk for squamous cell carcinoma. People who have also had basal cell carcinoma are twice as likely to develop squamous cell. This type of cancer is more likely to occur in males then females.
Just like BCC there are many causes of squamous cell carcinoma....
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Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Skin Cancer. 10 August 2012. Mayo Clinic. 2 December 2012 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs >.
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