A Frightening Fact about Skin Cancer
The incidence of skin cancer is rapidly increasing throughout the
world. More than 1.3 million new cases of skin cancer are
diagnosed each year in the United States alone. There are a number
of factors contributing to this rise, ranging from increased time spent
in the sun to the popularity of immunosupressive treatments for other diseases.
The cancers shown in the following examples are dangerously large
and were selected to demonstrate the tumors' characteristics. Many
of them should have been removed much sooner. If you are concerned
about a lesion on you, a relative or friend, don't wait. Suggest
they see a dermatologist today.
Types of Skin Cancer
(Click on any image to see a
The Malignant Melanoma:
The malignant melanoma is a very serious and aggressive form of skin
cancer. It is responsible for approximately eight thousand deaths
a year. To learn more about
malignant melanomas and see examples, click here.
The Amelanotic Malignant Melanoma:
A particularly dangerous variant of malignant melanoma is amelanotic melanoma
("amelanotic" means without color). As the name implies, these melanomas do not have
the typical dark color of a melanoma, and are therefore often overlooked. Unfortunately,
they are just as serious, and need to be identified early. To learn more about
amelanotic melanomas and see examples, click here.
Regression of Melanomas:
In some cases, dark-colored melanomas may lighten in color or appear to lessen in extent through a process called regression.
Just as with amelanotic melanomas, this does not lessen their severity or mean that they are less of a threat to your health,
but does make them harder to diagnose correctly. Dr. Lloyd has identified some traits, such as the Clearing Zone, which
help in making a correct diagnosis in these cases. To learn more about
regression of melanomas and see examples, click here.
The Basal Cell Carcinoma:
typically occur on light exposed areas of the body, but can be found
anywhere. Eighty percent will occur on the face. Though it occurs frequently,
there are few fatalities. However, basal cell
cancers can grow both horizontally and vertically resulting in the
destruction of any tissue they invade.
There are three primary types of Basal Cell Carcinoma: Superficial, Nodular, and Sclerosing. While these occur most commonly, there are others forms which are best diagnosed by your
The Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
Squamous cell cancers can migrate to other parts of the body
and can be potentially hazardous, however this is atypical.
Differentiating between these tumors is difficult. If you have any
doubt, see a dermatologist.
The three primary forms of Squamous cell carcinomas are Bowen's
and Infiltrating tumors.
In addition, there are other forms that you should also be aware of.
Are you at Risk?
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is also our body's
first line of defense. There are numerous factors which may increase your risk
of skin cancer:
- Genetics: The fair complexioned are at the greatest risk.
Your risk is also increased if your parents, children, or siblings have had skin cancer.
- Sun Exposure: Over the course of a lifetime, exposure to the sun
can lead to a higher risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds and other "false sunlight"
are no exception.
- Immunosuppression: Immunosuppression therapy following organ transplants,
chemotherapy, AIDS, and other treatments can put you at a significant risk for skin cancer.
- Lifespan: Human life expectancy has increased from forty-two years in 1904
to close to eighty years today. As a result, the number of
skin cancers being seen around the world is increasing.