Malignant Melanoma

Malignant Melanoma is a rarer and more serious type of skin cancer, causing the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Worldwide, about 160,000 cases are diagnosed and about 48,000 melanoma related deaths each year. This form of skin cancer is found more often in males and in Caucasians, and more common among Caucasians living in sunny climates like Arizona. Surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue is typically necessary. When dealing with this type of cancer only the smallest and most shallow melanomas can be cured by surgery alone, so early diagnosis is very important. If not caught early, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy may be necessary as well. 

Prompt action is your best response to any suspected skin cancers!

Basal Cell Carcinoma 

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, effecting nearly 1,000,000 Americans each year. Most are caused by chronic sun exposure, especially in people with fair skin, light hair and blue, green or grey eyes. This skin cancer rarely spreads to other organs of the body; however, it can cause destruction of surrounding tissue. Thus, early detection and treatment is necessary. 

While it occurs more frequently in older individuals, it does occur in young adults and sometimes even children. People with one BCC have a greater chance of developing more in the future. Hence, after diagnosis and treatment, regular follow-up visits to a dermatologist are important. 

BCC may have several different appearances on your skin. Some warning signs are an open sore, a reddish patch, a growth with an elevated border and a central indentation, a bump or nodule and a scar-like area. It can resemble noncancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Only a trained dermatologist can decide for sure.

Sqaumous cell carcinoma 
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer with an estimated 250,000 new cases per year in the United States. Most cases are caused by chronic overexposure to the sun. It may also occur where skin has suffered certain kinds of injury: burns, long-standing sores, sites previously exposed to X-rays or certain chemicals. In addition, medical conditions that suppress the immune system over an extended period of time may encourage development of the disease.

While dark skinned people are far less likely than Caucasians to develop skin cancer, more than two thirds of the skin cancers that dark-skinned people develop are SCCs, usually arising on sites of preexisting inflammatory skin conditions or burn injuries. It is important for dark skinned people to also use sun protection. 

With prompt treatment, SCC is not life threatening. If left untreated, SCC can destroy much of the tissue surrounding the tumor and may result in the loss of a nose or ear, for example. Aggressive types can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths each year in the United States. 

After a diagnosis, there are several treatment options to choose from, depending on the location, size, microscopic characteristics, overall health of the patient and other factors. Most are relatively minor office-based procedures that require only local anesthesia.

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