Skin Cancer Overview

You are your own first line of defense!

Most of the spots on your skin – freckles, birthmarks, moles – are normal, but some have the possibility of being cancerous. There are three main types of skin cancer. They can usually be discovered at an early stage when they are readily curable. If you ever spot these or any other suspicious or changing growths, contact Dr. Parvin Shafa promptly at OC MedDerm in Irvine, Orange County CA for a medical evaluation. By the age of 65, 40-50% of Americans will have had either Basal Cell (BCC) or Carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) at least once.

What you need to know about skin cancer, melanoma, and non-melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime.

Skin cancer is classified as either melanoma or non-melanoma. Some skin cancers do not start out as skin cancer and originate from internal cancer that presents through skin manifestation.

Melanoma is the most dangerous and lethal form of skin cancer. Melanomas often resemble moles, and it may also develop from moles.

Non-melanoma is less fatal and usually starts as a non-healing bump or lesion.

Melanoma Skin Cancer – the most dangerous and deadly skin cancer

Even though melanoma accounts for only 4% of all skin cancer cases, it is attributed to 80% of skin cancer-related deaths.

It is the most common type of cancer for ages 25 to 30, but it is also possible to occur at a young age, as well.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancers ( BCC & SCC)

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is by far the most common form of skin cancer. Though BCCs are rarely fatal, they have a high likelihood for disfiguration if permitted to grow.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.

Signs and symptoms of skin cancer

Skin cancer can be detected and treated early. Both doctors and patients play important roles in discovering skin cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell Dr. Shafa immediately.

Any of the following changes in the skin are suspicious and require attention:

  • A change in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot.
  • A growth that is new or exhibits scaliness, oozing, or bleeding.
  • A change in the appearance of a bump or nodule.
  • A change in sensation, including itchiness, tenderness, or pain.
  • The spread of pigmentation beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.

Melanoma Skin Cancer – the most dangerous and deadly skin cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.

Survival depends on the types and stage of the cancer. For basal cell or squamous cell cancers, a cure is highly likely if detected and treated early. Melanoma, even though it can spread to other body parts quickly, is also highly curable if detected early and treated properly. The five-year relative survival rate for patients with melanoma is 89%.

How can I decrease my chance of skin cancer and help with early detection and treatment of skin cancer?

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.

  • Avoid direct sun exposure and use sunscreen at all times – patients with atypical moles and a family history of skin cancer should especially avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen.
  • You must know how to “‘self-examine” your entire skin in order to detect changes in existing moles and skin.
  • You must recognize the features of melanoma (ABCDE) and other types of skin cancer.
  • Yearly, self whole-body color photography of the moles for comparison is highly recommended. This makes it easier to track the development and changes of your moles. This is most useful in patients with many atypical moles.

Risk factors for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers

  • Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Fair complexion
  • Occupational exposures to coal, tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium
  • Family history of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers
  • Multiple or atypical moles.Severe sunburns as a child

Ask questions or Call us to make an appointment for your full skin check or an evaluation of a concerning skin lesion. We are contracted with all PPO insurances and Medicare.

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