A Answers (10)
There are three types of skin cancer:
The most common type of skin cancer diagnosed in humans and the most common cancer diagnosed in general in humans is basal cell carcinoma. Over 2 million cases of basal cell carcinoma were reported in 2010. After basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, with around 750.000 cases in 2010 diagnosed. Melanoma, the 3rd most common type and the most dangerous type of common skin cancer had around 75,000 cases diagnosed last year. Early detection and treatment is key for all types of skin cancers.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. The three main types of skin cancer are called basal cell, squamous cell, and malignant melanoma. Basal and squamous are most often associated with areas of high sun exposure and are usually curable through removing the lesion. Melanoma is the least common of the 3 types of skin cancer but is also considered the most deadly. If caught early it is also readily curable, however if not removed it can spread too many parts of the body. Once this happens, the outlook is less favorable.
Skin cancer, which includes squamous cell cancer, basal cell cancer and melanoma, is the most common cancer in the United States and its incidence is steadily rising.
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My answer is very different than most physicians. Skin cancers include basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and melanomas. The latter two have a much greater tendency to metastasize (spread) than the first. The rate at which a melanoma can progress to metastatic stage is faster than that of most squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas can spread but usually grow in their local areas.
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are part of the spectrum of squamous cell carcinomas. They occur as small rough bumps. They are often better felt than seen, and many patients of fair skin have a large number of these lesions. More than 1/100 of these progress into a squamous cell carcinoma. There are many patients who have had a few basal cell carcinomas but 100s of actinic keratoses. The late Dr. Bernard Ackerman, a world-renowned dermatopathologist, referred to AKs as squamous cell carcinomas, superficial type. That is because he felt that one could not draw a line distinctly between the evolution of a squamous cell carcinoma from an AK and that it just evolves, step after step. AKs do not develop into BCCs. When considering AKs to be a prelude to SCC, then they are the most common neoplastic (cancer) growths.
Important developments in the fight against skin cancer include: better sunscreens, public education about the danger of sun exposure, preventative measures including topical therapy such as photodynamic therapy, 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, ergothioneine, and other agents that might decrease the numbers of new skin cancers in the future. Mohs micrographic surgery is a gold standard treatment for invasive skin cancer, especially on most facial areas, but also is indispensable in recurrent disease and areas in which tissue conservation is in order, or if the microscopic pattern of growth is more indicative of an aggressive growth pattern. Mohs Micrographic Surgery provides the greatest chance of cure of skin cancer while providing the greatest tissue conservation (smallest hole possible to completely eradicate the cancer).