About Skin Cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. If diagnosed and treated early, 95 percent of melanoma and 99 percent of SCC/BCC can be effectively treated.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. However, very few people die from it. The two most common types of BCC are nodular and superficial. Both of these types are easily treatable.
The nodular type of BCC appears as a slowly growing, shiny bump that’s white, pink or discolored. It most often appears on the face or neck. The superficial type of BCC presents as one or more red, scaly, irregular patches growing on the trunk of the body or on the limbs.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer and may be found on the:
- Lower legs
SCC is more dangerous than BCC because of its ability to spread to other parts of the body. The pre-invasive phase, SCC in situ (often called Bowen’s disease), characteristically presents with one or more dry or crusted red or brown patches. Once SCC becomes invasive, it usually grows within a solar keratosis (scaly spots due to sun damage) and presents as a tender scaly or ulcerated lump. Invasive SCC needs to be attended to promptly as there is a risk of the cancer spreading.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and may appear without warning. It may also begin in a lesion or other dark spot in the skin.
Melanoma can spread very quickly. Once it penetrates below the surface of the skin, it can become deadly. Survival rate is largely dependent on the thickness of the melanoma. A patient with a melanoma of less than 0.75 mm thick can expect to have a cure rate of 95 percent. If left until greater than 4mm thick, the cure rate drops to less than 55 percent. This is why it is vital to detect melanoma early.