Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Each year, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. than all other cancer combined. But here’s the good news: Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers.
There are many different types of skin cancer but you usually hear about the three most common types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are part of a group of skin cancers collectively referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). Melanomas make up less than 5% of all skin cancers, but they cause the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are by far the most common type of skin cancer. They are also the least dangerous type of skin cancer and have a very low risk for spreading to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the second most common type of skin cancer. They are more likely than BCCs to spread to other parts of the body if not treated promptly, but their overall risk for metastasis is still quite low. Melanomas, on the other hand, are much less common than BCCs and SCCs but account for the vast majority—75%—of all skin cancer deaths. This is because melanomas can and do spread to other parts of the body such as lungs, brain, or liver if not caught early and treated aggressively.
The best way for you to decrease the risk of skin cancer is to avoid excess sun exposure and to always use sunscreen and sun protection when outside. Sunscreen needs to be used regularly and reapplied frequently when outdoors. Use of hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing is also very important in practicing safe sun. If possible try to avoid being outdoors between hours of 10 am d to 2 pm. Always try to seek shade and know that no tan is a safe tan (unless it is out of a bottle or spray).
People who have had significant sun exposure or who have a family history of skin cancer should also be sure to regularly perform self-exams and see a dermatologist for annual screenings.
Skin cancer is highly preventable; however, it remains the most common type of cancer in America. Basal cell carcinomas are by far the most common type of skin cancer, but they are also the least dangerous type with very low risk for metastasis. Squamous cell carcinomas are slightly more dangerous, but their overall risk for metastasis is still quite low compared to melanomas—which despite being less common, cause 75% of all skin cancer deaths due to their high potential for metastasis if not caught early and treated aggressively. To reduce your risk for developing any type of skin cancer, limit your sun exposure and always use sunscreen and sun protection when outdoors; people with significant sun exposure or a family history should also perform regular self-exams and see a dermatologist annually for screenings.
To learn more about issues relating to sun exposure or skin cancer, we invite you to fill out our contact form or call JUVIVE Dermatology at (949) 430-0334 today to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.