Skin Cancer -- Overview
(Basal Cell Carcinoma; Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
- Basal cell carcinoma —Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. This cancer usually grows slowly and rarely spreads to other tissues in the body. Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal but it can cause damage to the nearby tissue. If there is risk of damage, the cancer may need treatment or removal.
- Squamous cell carcinoma —Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. The cancer develops in the uppermost layer of skin cells. Squamous cell carcinoma usually grows slowly. It is rarely fatal if treated early. However, the cancer can be lethal if it spreads beyond the skin.
|Basal Cell Carcinoma|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- 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 February 25, 2015.
Basal cell carcinoma of the skin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 18, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.
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 February 20, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.
Skin cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/skin. Accessed February 25, 2015.
Squamous cell carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 16, 2015. Accessed February 25, 2015.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed February 25, 2015.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 10/20/2014 -