Three Forms of Skin Cancer and Their Symptoms

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer, so much that 20% of adults will be diagnosed by seventy. The risk of getting skin cancer varies from one person to the next, but some individuals stand a higher chance of contracting the disease—for instance, people with a lighter complexion and those who are prone to sunburns. Furthermore, people who are genetically predisposed to cancer may get skin cancer too. If you are seeking information on skin cancer in Downtown, DC, we have an expert oncologist at your service.

Types of skin cancer

Skin cancer refers to the irregular growth of cells, and this mostly happens after exposure to the sun. The areas most affected include the face, ears, neck, arms, legs, and scalp. Cancer can also affect body parts that are not typically exposed to the sun, like underneath toenails and the genital area. There are three primary forms of skin cancer, as discussed below:

  1. Melanoma

Melanoma can affect any part of the body or manifest in a mole that morphs into cancer. Women mostly get it on the lower part of the legs, usually exposed to the sun, but it can also affect areas that do not get much sunshine. People with light to medium and dark skin tones can contract this cancer. Apparent signs of melanoma include a bleeding mole that changes color, painful lesions, dark lesions on toes, vagina, palms, etc.

  1. Basal cell carcinoma

This form of cancer occurs in the lower epidermis, commonly known as the basal cell layer. In this layer, cells keep dividing to create new ones that will replace the squamous cells, constantly shedding off. Basal cell carcinoma looks like a mildly transparent bump on the surface. It is common in parts exposed to direct sunlight, such as the face, neck, or head. The cancer is widely believed to stem from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight.

Signs of basal cell carcinoma include spotting a skin-colored bump, a scaly raised patch, and a waxy lesion growing in whatever direction.

  1. Squamous cell carcinoma

As the name suggests, squamous cell carcinoma grows in the middle and outer layers of the skin where squamous cells are located. Squamous cell carcinomas emanate from extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from other sources like tanning beds. Avoiding UV light helps reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Symptoms include spotting a red nodule, a scaly patch on the lip, a sore on a previous scar, and so forth. While this form of skin cancer is not life-threatening, some patients have reported aggressive symptoms that make life difficult. The lack of proper treatment can make cancer spread to other parts of your body, which is harder to manage.

Receiving any of the above diagnoses can be scary and leave you feeling hopeless, but skin cancer is also manageable. If you notice lesions, scaly patches, or any unusual changes on your skin, arrange an appointment with a specialist so they can perform the necessary tests.