More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and 20% of Americans will develop the disease at some point in their lifetime.
There are three basic types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
If you’ve noticed a new spot that won’t go away, if you have a bump that starts bleeding for no known reason, or if one of your moles starts to change in shape or size, talk with us immediately. Central Ohio Skin and Cancer has several physicians on staff who can provide an expert consultation. Call (614) 898-7546 to make an appointment today.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and typically develops on fair-skinned people in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and hands.
It typically appears as a small, fleshy bump, nodule or red scaly patch that itches or bleeds easily.
Basal cells typically grow slowly and will develop into non-healing sores. It can take many months or years for one of the sores to grow to a diameter of one-half inch. If left untreated, the area will become larger and deeper and may begin to bleed, crust over, heal, and then repeat that cycle.
It’s not usually fatal, but basal cell carcinoma can cause extensive damage to the skin, bone and nerves surrounding the lesion.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
More than 250,000 new cases of Squamous Cell Carcinoma are diagnosed every year, making it the second most common type of skin cancer in the United States.
It usually develops in middle-aged and elderly people with fair skin. While it typically forms on the ears, face, lips and mouth, squamous cells can develop anywhere on the body. They most often appear as a bump or a red, scaly patch, but can also develop as small, sandpaper-like lesions called solar or actinic keratosis. They also can develop into large masses and become invasive.
If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can metastasize to other areas and can be fatal. However, when diagnosed and treated early, the cure rate is over 95%.
Malignant Melanoma affects more than 108,000 people every year, and it’s fatal for about 15% of them. Melanoma begins in the skin cells that produce the skin’s pigment, melanin.
Since melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, the cancer can appear as lesions of various shades, including red, white, blue, black, or dark brown. It may appear suddenly or begin on or near a mole or other dark spot in the skin, so it's important to know the location and appearance of the moles on your body to detect changes early.
Melanoma can quickly metastasize to other areas, so any changing mole or new spot must be examined by a dermatologist immediately. The earlier we can treat melanoma, the better your outcome will be. An annual skin exam will help us track any skin changes that could be cancerous.