Basal cell carcinoma usually appears on the head or neck and is likely related to long-term sun exposure. Most often, they look like waxy or white bumps. However, they sometimes look like a scaly patch on the chest or back. This cancer grows slowly and rarely spreads. It is very common for basal cell carcinoma to return after it is removed. Basal cell carcinoma accounts for the majority of cancer cases.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a less common form of skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinoma, this cancer is found on sun-exposed skin. Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include either a firm red bump or a patch of scaly skin that may or may not bleed. This cancer is fast-growing and likely to spread if left untreated.
Melanoma is the least common of the three main skin cancers. It is also the most likely to spread to lymph nodes.
Melanoma can be found anywhere on the body, with the chest and back being the most common areas for men. Women more commonly see melanoma on their legs. Darker-skinned people are likely to find hidden melanomas in areas such as under the nails, the palms of their hands, and the soles of their feet. If melanoma is found and treated early, there is a very good chance of curing it.
There are several factors that can influence a person’s risk for skin cancer. If you notice any unusual lesions, bumps, or spots, be sure to consult with Dr. Zizmor immediately. People with fair skin are at increased risk because the lack of melanin in their skin gives them less protection from the sun’s dangerous UV rays.
Anyone with a history of sunburns should closely monitor their skin for changes. Abnormal moles can develop into cancer, so people with a lot of moles should have regular dermatological exams and do self-exams on a regular basis to watch for changes. A personal or family history of skin cancer also increases a person’s risk.