WHAT IS SKIN CANCER
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and occurs more often than all other forms of cancer combined. All cancers begin with damage to a cell’s DNA molecule that encodes important genetic information. If the body is unable to heal the damage, cells can begin to multiply and grow at a more rapid rate than is normal. As the damaged skin cells continue to divide uncontrollably, a tumor can form in the outer layers of the skin known as the epidermis. Unlike other forms of cancer, skin cancers are generally visible to the naked eye making them much easier for your doctor to diagnose and treat in a timely manner. Skin cancer is rarely fatal when detected early.
Common Types of Skin Cancer
There are three common types of skin cancer which account for over 99% of the occurrences of the disease. Named after damaged skin cells, the most common forms of skin cancer include:
The cause of BCC and SCC skin cancers is much different that the cause of melanoma. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are caused by direct damage to the cell’s DNA molecule while indirect damage is the contributing cause of a melanoma. Although malignant melanoma is far less common, it remains the deadliest form of skin cancer and is responsible for around 75% of the disease-related deaths in the United States.
Cause and Prevention
According the American Cancer Society, sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Today, dermatologists understand the sun’s rays can damage the DNA in the skin, especially in an individual with fair complexion, blue eyes and blonde or red hair. Although skin cancer can be an inherited condition, researchers believe that using sun protection throughout our life can significantly reduce the risks of developing skin cancer. Preventing the disease from becoming deadly is best accomplished through self examination and annual visits to your dermatologist. Remember, when detected early, skin cancer is a highly curable disease. If you have a concern, call Park Avenue Dermatology today at 1-904-541-0315 to schedule your examination.