Skin Cancer -- Overview
(Basal Cell Carcinoma; Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
- Basal cell carcinoma —This is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma develops in the outermost layer of skin. This cancer usually grows slowly and does not spread to other tissues in the body.
- Squamous cell carcinoma —This cancer develops in the uppermost layer of skin cells. Squamous cell carcinoma usually grows slowly. However, in some cases it can grow fast and spread to other tissues in the body. If treated early this type of cancer is rarely fatal. However, the cancer can be fatal if it spreads beyond the skin.
|Basal Cell Carcinoma|
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- Fair skin that freckles easily
- Red or blonde hair
- Light-colored eyes
- Caucasian skin
- Personal history of skin cancer
- Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or artificial radiation from a tanning bed
- Excessive sun exposure without protective clothing or sunscreen
- Skin damage from burns or infections
- Exposure to arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin, and certain types of oil
- Radiation therapy treatment
- Light treatments for psoriasis , especially psoralen ultraviolet A (PUVA)
- Having a weak immune system due to illness or medications
- Certain genetic diseases, such as basal cell nevus syndrome or xeroderma pigmentosum
- Slowly expanding, painless growth
- Bleeding scab or sore that heals and recurs
- Flat, firm, pale area
- Small, raised, pink, red, shy, or pearly areas thay may bleed easily
- Large oozing, crusted area
- Growing lumps with rough, scaly, or crusted surfaces
- Slow-growing flat, reddish patches in the skin
- Recurrent, nonhealing ulceration or bleeding
- Large tumors
- Tumors in hard-to-treat places
- Tumors of undetermined shape and depth
- Cancers that have recurred
- Avoid spending too much time in the sun.
- Avoid exposing your skin to the sun between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM standard time, or 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM daylight saving time.
- Protect your skin from the sun with clothing. Wear a shirt, sunglasses, and a hat with a broad brim.
- Use broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
- Use a protective lip balm.
- Wear sunglasses with 99% or 100% UV absorption to protect your eyes.
- Don't use sun lamps or tanning booths.
- If you have any of the symptoms listed above, have your skin examined by a doctor.
- If you have fair skin, have your skin checked by a doctor.
- Learn how to do a skin self-exam .
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Alberta Provincial Cutaneous Tumour Team. Prevention of skin cancer. Edmonton (Alberta): CancerControl Alberta; 2013 Feb. 27 p. (Clinical practice guideline; no. CU-014). Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=48130#Section420. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Basal cell carcinoma of the skin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed April 10, 2013.
Skin cancer: basal and squamous cell. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003139-pdf.pdf. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed April 10, 2013.
Skin cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/skin. Accessed April 10, 2013.
Squamous cell carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated december 6, 2013. Accessed April 10, 2013.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed October 20, 2014.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 10/20/2014 -