Skin cancer is the most common type of human cancer, with an estimated 1 million new cases diagnosed yearly. There are three types:
- Basal cell carcinoma- Over 90% of all skin cancer cases in the U.S. BCC almost never metastasizes.
- Squamos cell carcinoma- About � as common as BCC, more common in men than women. SCC can form in any squamos cells (skin, lining of hollow organs, passages of respiratory and digestive systems), and may metastasize.
- Melanoma- This is the most deadly form of skin neoplasia (cancer). It does metastasize, sometimes quickly. It develops in melanocytes (pigment cells). Melanoma kills about 50,000 people per year in the United States.
- Asymmetry & Border irregularity- benign moles and blemishes are symmetrical (same across the surface) and have regular, smooth borders. Whereas, skin neoplasia will have a different appearance in half of the blemish. It will also have notched or uneven edges.
- Color- A benign mole or blemish may range in color from pink to dark brown, but it is a solid color. Cancerous blemishes will have several colors and irregular patterns, or they will appear a different color than any other moles on your body.
- Diameter- Benign moles are frequently less than � inch, or about the size of a pencil eraser. If the blemish is larger than that, it is very likely some form of skin cancer.
Although BCC and SCC are generally non-fatal, if they metastasize, they become unmanageable and can damage other body parts to the point of failure. Do not underestimate the dangers of this type of cancer.
- Skin tears and ruptures due to untreated skin cancers can become dangerously infected.
- When cancer metastasizes, it spreads to other systems of the body. Melanoma can quickly spread to the lymph nodes.
- SCC can cause rupture of linings of internal organs.
- The immune system is weakened.
- Tumors may block circulation, causing necrosis.