Skin cancer occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations (genetic defects). This damage is largely caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from tanning beds. These mutations spark abnormal skin cells into a multiplication frenzy, which forms malignant tumors and can spread to other areas of the body. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked to exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. After that comes melanoma, which accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer diagnoses… but causes the majority of skin cancer deaths. However, if detected early, while it is still localized (hasn’t spread), melanoma can almost always be successfully treated.
Your skin type is a key factor in your risk for skin cancer. The list of other general risk factors includes:
Annual head-to-toe exams by your doctor or dermatologist not only can teach you how to identify suspicious spots, freckles or moles — they can save your life. After learning how through a few exams by your doctor, you can check yourself in about 10 minutes. Just follow this simple ABCDE routine recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation:
Knowing exactly what to look for is the key to finding skin cancer early. Some common symptoms to watch for are:
The different types of skin cancer vary in where they begin. The five types of skin cancer are:
Your skin cancer type, its origin, the state of your health and other factors will help your doctor determine your treatment. He or she may recommend one or more of the following options:
From empowering you with information and tools to fully understand skin cancer, to treating it quickly and comprehensively, RCCA is committed to your care. As one of the nation’s largest cancer physician networks, we have the reach, the resources and the localized accessibility to treat your very individualized needs with top-quality care and unfailing compassion.
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When standard cancer treatments aren’t providing the results you want, clinical trials may offer hope. Our physicians use clinical trials to study new treatments, helping transform cancer care for the better. You can enroll in a clinical trial to try groundbreaking treatment plans at zero cost to you.
Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.