Actinic keratoses are regarded by some as superficial squamous cell skin cancers. They are generally regarded by most, at least, as precancerous lesions. For more information on actinic keratosis, click here to see our actinic keratosis page.
3 Common Types of Skin Cancer
The two most common kinds of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90% of all skin cancers in the United States. It is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Over 1 million cases are detected in the United States every year.
Squamous cell carcinoma also rarely spreads, but it does so more often than basal cell carcinoma. About 250,000 cases are detected in the United States every year.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are sometimes called nonmelanoma skin cancer. They are the result of genetic predisposition and chronic sun exposure, as encountered by persons with outdoor occupations such as life guards, roofers, park rangers, road crews, farmers, etc.
Another type of cancer that occurs in the skin is melanoma, which begins in the melanocytes (pigment producing skin cells). It is the result of genetic disposition and multiple blistering sunburns. This is the most worrisome type of skin cancer. The outcome is based on the pathologic thickness of the melanoma, but can be excellent if the lesion is detected early when the lesion is very thin. That is why it is so important to start protecting children from the sun shortly after birth. 80% of a person's sun exposure is encountered before the age of 21. Unfortunately, before many are wise enough to understand the importance of sun protection, they have already received the majority of their lifetime exposure to the sun. It is also important to have regular skin examinations and, see a dermatologist immediately if:
1. you have a first degree relative detected with melanoma
2. you have a mole that is changing in any way
3. you have a spot that bleeds and does not heal in 3 weeks.
Please visit our other web pages for more specific information.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin Examinations (to come soon)
Dermatoscope (Mole Checks)
For additional helpful information on this topic Dr. Crutchfield recommends these helpful links:
Sun Protective Clothing
Dr. Crutchfield's United Hospital Sun Protection Article
American Academy of Dermatology: Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer Foundation
American Academy of Dermatology: Sun Protection for Children
American Academy of Dermatology: Sunscreens
American Academy of Dermatology: Darker side of Tanning
American Academy of Dermatology: The Sun and your Skin
American Academy of Dermatology: Ultraviolet index
Dangers of Tanning: No Tan is a Safe Tan