What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer


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Skin cancer is a serious condition that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with during their lifetime. Being educated on all forms of skin cancer is incredibly important, because even if you aren’t diagnosed, a friend or family member may be, and knowledge will pay off. Know the symptoms and know what is available for the treatment of skin cancer. There is so much information around on the topic, but start here for the basics.

What is the most common form of skin cancer, and what are the symptoms?

The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma, which is the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. If detected early, melanoma is very curable. However, if it advances into the lymph nodes and/or internal organs it can result in death. If you have more than 50 moles, large moles, or an atypical mole, get screened! You have a higher risk of developing melanoma.

How common are other forms of skin cancer?

In the U.S. alone, there are over 3.5 million nonmelanoma skin cancers diagnosed in over 2 million people. There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than there are combined incidences of breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers.

What is a common treatment for melanoma skin cancer?

Dermatology research has made a lot of progress in the treatment of skin cancer over the last couple decades. So much progress that when diagnosed early, the survival rate for melanoma patients is now over 90%! Ask a dermatologist about skin cancer treatment options of course, but there are generally a few categories your treatment will fall into.

Your first option is surgery to remove the mole with melanoma. This can be used when diagnosed early enough that the cancer hasn’t spread. The next option is chemotherapy, which is commonly used to fight off cancer. It has numerous other side effects, but is generally an effective option. Another treatment option is a combination of psoralen and ultraviolet radiation called PUVA treatments.

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