Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than five percent of skin cancer cases. However, it causes most skin cancer deaths. Melanoma can often be found early. Everyone can do things to find this cancer early, when it is curable.
Self Exams: Check your own skin about once a month; know the patterns of moles, freckles, and other marks so that you will notice any changes. Spots on the skin that change in size, shape, or color should immediately be seen by a doctor. Any unusual sore, lump, blemish, marking, or change in the way an area of the skin looks or feels should also be checked by a doctor.
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. If left unchecked, these cancer cells can spread from the skin into other tissues and organs.
There are different types of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common. Melanoma is less common, but more dangerous.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States. Known risk factors for skin cancer include the following:
Skin cancers may have many different appearances. They can be small, shiny, waxy, scaly and rough, firm and red, crusty or bleeding, or have other features. Therefore, anything suspicious should be looked at by a physician. See the articles on specific skin cancers for more information.
Use a mirror or have someone help you look on your back, shoulders, and other hard-to-see areas.
Wear sunglasses, stay in the shade, and protect children. For more information on these and other tips, contact Kirkland Cancer Center at 541-9561 or visit the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org.
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