Types of skin cancer

Although most types of cancer are not curable, and cancer takes the lives of more than 7.4 million people all over the world, among the 49 types of cancer that have been identified by medical researchers, skin cancer is, perhaps, the most preventable one. The skin of human body, like all other organs, is made up of numerous kinds of cells. Squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes make up the skin of human body. Skin cancer can cause in any of these three cells, and is named according to the names of these skin cells. The three most notable types of skin cancer are the squamous cell carcinoma, the basal cell carcinoma and the malignant melanoma. Another rare skin cancer apart from the three mentioned, is the nodular melanoma. The squamous cell carcinoma and the basal cell carcinoma are together called the non-melanoma or common skin cancers.

Symptoms of skin cancer usually start with a change in color or appearance of any portion of the skin. Each skin cancer has its own distinct symptoms, and each skin cancer also tends to develop in certain areas of the skin. Skin cancer is mostly caused by excessive exposure to sunlight which mainly consists of harmful ultraviolet rays. More than 1,000,000 people are infected with skin cancer every year worldwide.

The basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer accounts for more than 75% the skin cancers that affect people worldwide. The basal cell carcinoma mostly affects those areas of the skin which receive the most exposure to sunlight, like the hands, face and neck. Usually this type of cancer does not spread to other areas of the skin, and is treatable. However, if the cancer is left without being treated it may destroy other surrounding cells. Symptoms of the basal cell carcinoma include the formation of a sores and pus that bleed and redden. Usually it is also accompanied by irritation felt in the skin, and sometimes looks yellow, white or pink in color. Growth of this cancer is slow in nature and may take months to become visible.

The squamous cell carcinoma is lesser common compared to the occurrence of the basal cell carcinoma. It can occur in the face, neck, ears and the mouth. This type of cancer grows very fast and can spread to surrounding areas if not treated during their earlier stages. Symptoms of this skin cancer usually start with a bump that grows into a sore, which is red in color and is sometimes crusty in nature. This cancer grows very quickly and may spread around affecting the lymphatic vessels, the blood vessels as well as the nervous system, if not treated.

The malignant melanoma is the most dangerous among the different kinds of skin cancers that have been identified to date. The melanoma can develop in the skin of any part of the body, although the trunk and the limbs are the most common areas for this type of cancer to develop. If diagnosed during its earlier stages, this cancer is regarded to be highly treatable. Symptoms of the melanoma can start with the formation of a simple mole or freckle, or an existing mole or freckle that may have changed in terms of appearance, color or size. Usually the moles or freckles that develop during melanoma have an irregular outline and may consist of more than one color. Melanoma causes the most cancer deaths among the deaths caused by the various kinds of skin cancer.

The nodular melanoma is characterized by the development of moles that have a very distinctive appearance. These moles are generally raised and very dark in color. Usually these moles have a very distinct outline and are uniform in color.

Skin cancer can be prevented by maintaining a few rules. Since skin cancer is mainly caused from excessive exposure to sunlight, people should wear sunscreens to beat the heat, and try to stay in shady areas as much as possible.

Last updated on Jan 19th, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Types of skin cancer”

  1. M. Christy says:

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