Our skin is the largest of our human organs. Not only does our skin give us our appearance and shape, it also serves crucial functions such as regulating our body temperature and acting as a shield to protect us from environmental irritants, bacteria, heat and cold. Unfortunately, our skin is susceptible to cancer. In fact, dermal (skin) cancer is the most common of all cancers and affects millions of Americans each year.
There are three main types of dermal cancer. These cancers begin in a different type of cell within the skin and each cancer is named for the type of cell in which it begins.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of dermal cancer. It usually develops on sun exposed areas as a small, round, raised, red spot. If detected early the chances of a cure are good. While these tumors very rarely metastasize (cancer spreading to other parts of the body), early diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common dermal cancer. It also mainly develops on sun exposed areas. It is a slowly growing cancer with a tendency to spread to other parts of the body. If SCC is detected early the cure rates are good.
Malignant Melanoma (MM): Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous and life-threatening dermal cancer. It has a great potential to spread to other parts of the body. Certain moles have the tendency to change their appearance and turn into MM. Because of the severity of MM, it is important for survival to detect MM as early as possible. With early detection and proper treatment, however, the cure rate for melanoma is about 95%.
Dermal Cancer Part Two to be continued…