Different Types of Skin Cancer

Different Types of Skin Cancer

There are many different types of skin cancer, each with its own cause and course of treatment. Primarily, skin cancer falls into three categories, which are melanoma, basal, and squamous cell.

Melanoma involves the cells which regulate skin pigment, whereas basal and squamous cell carcinomas involve cells that make up the subcutis, dermis, and epidermis of the skin. Melanoma is considered the most dangerous because it stands the greatest chance of spreading or metastasizing. The cells which control skin pigment are much closer to and therefore have greater access to lymph vessels, which can transport cancerous cells to other parts of the body.

Melanomas normally appear first as a mole, but later change size and shape as the cancer develops. Basal and squamous cell skin cancer show slightly different signs such as unusual blemishes, sores, or lumps that get bigger over time, and abrasions that do not heal after three months. Regardless of what you know, early signs of skin cancer should be brought to the attention of your physician. General skin cancer warning signs include any strange or new discolorations, changes in skin texture, growths, or other abnormalities on the skin should be tested.

For melanomas, the primary treatment option is removal. The doctor will remove the questionable mole or other blemish along with an additional area of skin around the abnormality, as well as several layers of skin below it to ensure all of the cancer cells have been removed.

Likewise, the primary treatment for basal and squamous cell carcinoma is surgical removal. Again, an area of skin around and below the blemish will be removed. If the doctor believes the cancer may have spread, additional surgery under anesthesia may be performed to remove lymph nodes or other affected areas.

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