Types of Skin Cancer and How to Spot Rare and Aggressive Forms
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and it’s critical to know the various types of skin cancer to guard yourself and loved ones against it. There are three primary types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. All three forms can be readily cured if caught early, making diagnosis a crucial part of skin cancer prevention. Here we will explore the three main types of skin cancer, as well as how to spot rare and aggressive forms of these cancers.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for 80% of all diagnoses. People who are fair-skinned, live in sunny or coastal regions, or who have had intense sun exposure for prolonged periods of time are particularly susceptible to BCC. The cancer typically appears as a dome-shaped bump with a waxy, shiny surface and may be accompanied by itching, bleeding, or pain.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. SCC is most commonly associated with ultraviolet (UV) exposure and has a higher tendency to metastasize, if left untreated. Skin lesions associated with SCC typically appear as scaly patches, raised bumps, or warts.
Melanoma is the rarest, but most aggressive and dangerous, form of skin cancer. Melanoma is caused by over exposure to UV light and can develop from pre-existing moles or new lesions on the skin. Symptoms of melanoma include a mole that changes color, shape, or size and may be accompanied by itching or discomfort.
Identifying Rare and Aggressive Forms of Skin Cancer
Early recognition and intervention is key when it comes to managing skin cancer. It is especially important to keep an eye out for rare and aggressive forms of skin cancer, as these can spread to other areas of the body and become more difficult to treat. Other rare forms of skin cancer include Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma.
Some risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing more aggressive forms of skin cancer include: fair skin, an immunocompromised state, multiple severe sunburns in childhood, and genetic mutations associated with a family history of skin cancer.
If you have any of the risk factors associated with more aggressive forms of skin cancer or if you notice any of the warning signs listed above, you should contact your doctor for a skin cancer screening. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in increasing the chances of successful treatment.