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What are the Most Common Types of Skin Cancer

Video Transcript
The three most common types of skin cancer that most people have heard of are Basal cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. Basal Cell Carcinoma is by far the most common, and it tends to be the least aggressive. Basal Cell carcinomas tend to grow relatively slowly; however, they can start to destroy tissue or bio structures as they approach those areas. So, you can imagine that Basal Cell Carcinoma on the back could potentially grow a little bit larger before it starts to damage things as opposed to one on the eyelids where it can really start to impact the eye or impact your vision.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type, and it is a little bit more varied in how aggressive it can be. Many times, in otherwise healthy patients, squamous call carcinoma tends to behave almost similarly to Basal Cell carcinoma. It can be easily treated, and in some patients, especially patients with immune compromise whether they may have a blood disorder or even more typically transplant patients, squamous cell carcinoma can grow very rapidly. It may spread to other parts of the body and become life threatening, so it is very important to treat this type of cancer in those scenarios.

The third most common type of skin cancer is melanoma, and it is one that can definitely be more aggressive. It has more of a tendency to spread beneath the skin and spread to other parts of the body such as the brain and the lungs, and the potential for how far it can spread is really based on how early it is diagnosed. Melanoma that is diagnosed very early tends to have an extremely high cure rate, well above 90 percent. As it has time to invade deeper into the skin and has that increased potential to spread, the cure rate drops very substantially. With all these skin cancers, and especially with melanoma, the most important thing is that we are able to diagnose and treat the lesions early.

You should examine your skin for lesions, but not every single day because we know if you look at something every single day you really have less of a tendency to notice subtle changes. So you want to pick a time that is spread out a little bit, once a month is typically very good. If you notice any particular changes that are concerning, you should bring those things to the attention of your physician or dermatologist.

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