Skin cancer is a highly curable, common type of malignancy. It occurs when a tumor grows on the skin. The naked eye can observe changes to the texture and color of the skin as well as the appearance of a nodule or growth. Ninety percent of skin cancer that is treated at an early stage can be cured.
Three types of skin cancer exist:
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for 75 percent of skin cancers. People with prolonged exposure to the sun are at higher risk for this type of cancer. It is diagnosed mainly in middle-aged and elderly people, especially those with fair skin. Basal cell carcinoma produces a small lump or smooth ulcer on the face, head, and/or neck, and grows slowly. It rarely metastasizes to other area and has an excellent cure rate.
Squamous cell carcinoma can be found anywhere on the body, but is commonly found on near the mouth and on the lip. Like basal cell carcinoma, it is common in people with excessive sun exposure. The tumor appears as a skin ulcer or irregularity that is painless but may tend to bleed. Pipe and cigar smoking may cause this type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma metastasizes to other parts of the body in 20 percent of cases and has an excellent cure rate.
Melanoma is cancer that usually spreads from an existing mole. It is not cured as easily as the other two skin cancers, but it is also not as common. Click here to read more about melanoma.
Skin cancer may occur, in part, because of genetic makeup. However, the most common reason it develops is exposure to ultraviolet light, such as that from the sun and tanning beds.