Skin Cancer Overview

Skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in humans, is disturbingly on the rise with more than 1 million new cases each year.  Almost half of Americans over age 65 will have skin cancer at least one time.

Signs to look out for include changes in the skin’s appearance like a new growth, a pigmented spot not seen before, or a non-healing sore.

Skin Cancer comprises 3 distinct conditions:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Actinic Keratosis in early phase)
  • Melanoma


Cancer Type






Preventive Steps

Basal Cell Small dome-shaped bumpOften associated with superficial blood vessels (telangiectases)Pearly (shiny and translucent

Those on back look like raw, dry patches

*Does not spread

Fair skinExposure to sunAge-most prevalent after 50

UV radiation exposure (tanning booths)

Radiation Therapy

Limit sun exposure (avoid unprotected skin, wear broad-brimmed hats)Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or more

Avoid use of tanning beds

Squamous Cell Flat, thin cells with microscopic fish scale appearanceRough, red bumps on face ears, scalp and backs of handsMound with central center

Red blur between lip and surrounding skin

Wart-like growths

*Can spread

Exposure to:

  • Sun
  • arsenic
  • heat
  • hydrocarbons
  • X-rays
  • HPV (virus that causes warts)
Avoid or decrease exposure to the agents in the risk listAvoid tanning bedsLiberal use of sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher

Wear wide-brimmed hats

Melanoma Mole that changes in color, shape or size Fair skin and eye colorExposure to sun and UV raysHaving more than 50 moles

Family history

Previous history


Age (over 50)

Avoid prolonged direct exposure to sunWear wide-brimmed hatsLiberal use of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more

Don’t use tanning beds

Get skin examined by dermatologist regularly


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