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Melanoma, Carcinoma & Lesions

  • As the most common form of cancer in the world, skin cancer afflicts 1 in 5 Americans by the time they turn 70 and takes 2 lives every hour.
  • An annual dermatologist checkup is your second best defense against skin cancer. The first is using proper sun protection.
  • Slow-spreading basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer and account for at least 25% of yearly skin cancer deaths.
  • Malignant melanoma is highly aggressive, prone to metastasize and potentially lethal if not caught early.
  • Lesions are changes to the skin that may become cancer. Recognizing precancerous lesions is key to early detection and improved outcomes.

More About Melanoma, Carcinoma & Lesions

Who’s At Risk?

Everyone, young and old, is susceptible to developing skin cancer, but the risk rises exponentially with age and the presence of the following factors:

  • Fair skin or freckled complexions
  • Blond/red hair & blue or green eyes
  • Skin pigment disorders
  • Personal or family history of skin cancer
  • 50+ moles on the body
  • History of at least one severe sunburn
  • Outdoor lifestyle and/or use of tanning beds

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma is cancer of the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, what gives your skin its color. Increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV)
radiation is directly linked to increased risk of developing melanoma. Though at least 75% of skin cancer deaths are attributed to melanoma, the 5-year survival rate after early detection is 99%. Know the ABCDEs to look for malignant melanoma in moles and lesions:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border (irregular and/or poorly defined)
  • Color variations within the same mole
  • Diameter (6mm or larger)
  • Evolving (won’t look the same one month to the next)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Carcinomas start in the cells that build skin tissue or some organ lining. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) most often appears on the face, neck, ears, lips, and the backs of the hands and can present as red, scaly patches that are prone to itch and bleed. Though easy to treat when caught early, SCC can spread to lymph nodes and other tissues. Early detection and treatment is key to improved outcomes.

Precancerous Lesions

Precancerous lesions are areas of your skin that change in appearance or texture. These are not guaranteed to become cancer, but they are the warning signs that should be brought to our attention as they appear. Watch for patches of red/brown, scaly skin, which can become SCC, acquired moles, flat or raised, that present the ABCDE signs of melanoma, or any other changes that appear randomly, especially in areas of the body that have been repeatedly exposed to UV radiation.

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