If It’s Not Melanoma, What Could It Be???

 

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts:

– Non-melanoma skin cancers (like Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma) are often caused by many years of exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays and, therefore, usually appear on sun exposed skin.

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– Basal Cell Cancer (BCC) and Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC) are the most common types of skin cancer.
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What do BCC and SCC look like on my skin?
– Non-healing spots or sores
– Often pink/red in color
– Shiny and/or scaly
– Raised
– Painful, itchy, scabby, or bleeding
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BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
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– BCC is quite common (~80% of all skin cancers) and is seen on sun exposed skin, like the head, neck, and back of the hands
– It is possible to get BCC on other parts of the body, including the trunk, arms, and legs
– BCC generally grows slowly, and rarely, if ever, spreads to other parts of the body
– Treatment is very important because BCC is locally aggressive and can grow wide and deep, destroying skin tissue and bone
– BCC is usually treated with surgical removal of the cancer; other options may include radiation and topical or oral chemotherapy
 
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
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– SCC comprises ~15% of skin cancers
– SCC commonly occurs on the head and neck
– It may also occur on other body parts or mucous membranes (lips, mouth, nose, anus, and vaginal surface)
– Exposure to tanning beds, radiation, chemicals, and significant burns increases SCC risk
– SCC may spread to other parts of the body and early treatment ensures the best chance of cure
 
ACTINIC KERATOSES
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– Actinic keratoses (AKs) are “precancerous” spots that occur from many years of harmful sun exposure
– AKs appear as flat or raised rough/scaly tan or pink spots
– Most commonly seen on the nose, scalp, face, ears, hands, forearms, chest, and shoulders
– About 1 in 20 AKs will progress into SCC over time if left untreated
– Treatment options include liquid nitrogen (freezing) or topical chemotherapy creams
 
WHEN IN DOUBT, OR IF YOU DEVELOP A NEW/CHANGING SPOT, SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGY PROVIDER!

 

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