“Check your skin once a month for things that may be signs of cancer. Skin cancer is rarely painful. Look for changes such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Skin Cancer Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma/Skin Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Nonmelanoma/Non Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
  • Skin Cancer
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma/Skin Cancer

Definition

What is skin cancer?

DotS the definition of skin cancer may vary. The (United States) National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) definition is:

  • “Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the skin”.2

Types

What are some types of skin cancer?

DotS these may include:

  • Melanoma
  • Basel Cell Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Melanoma

What is melanoma?

DotS the definition of melanoma vary. The NCI’s definition is:

“Melanoma. A form of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines”.3

How common is melanoma?

In the United States according to the American Cancer Society (ACS):

“The American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2020 are:

  • About 100,350 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 60,190 in men and 40,160 in women)”.4

In the United Kingdom (UK) according to Cancer Research UK:

“Around 16,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year. Over the last 10 years, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma in the UK has increased by almost half.

Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK”.5

Basal Cell Carcinoma

What is basal cell carcinoma?

DotS the definition of basal cell carcinoma may vary. The NCI’s definition is:

“Basal Cell Carcinoma
Cancer that begins in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed. Basal cell carcinomas are usually found on areas of the body exposed to the sun. Basal cell carcinomas rarely metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. They are the most common form of skin cancer. Also called basal cell cancer”.6

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

DotS the definition of squamous cell carcinoma may vary. The NCI’s definition is:

“Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancer that begins in squamous cells. Squamous cells are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales, and are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Most cancers of the anus, cervix, head and neck, and vagina are squamous cell carcinomas. Also called epidermoid carcinoma”.7

How common are basal and squamous cell carcinoma?

In the U.S. according to the ACS:

“Cancers of the skin (most of which are basal and squamous cell skin cancers) are by far the most common of all types of cancer. According to one estimate, about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the US (occurring in about 3.3 million Americans, as some people have more than one). About 8 out of 10 of these are basal cell cancers. Squamous cell cancers occur less often”.8

In the United Kingdom (UK) according to Cancer Research UK:

“Around 147,000 cases of non melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year. The number could be higher as we know that they are under reported. This makes it the most common type of cancer by far. Because non melanoma skin cancers are easy to treat and cure, they’re often left out of national cancer statistics”.9

Cause

What may cause skin cancer?

In How Does the Sun and UV Cause Cancer? How Can UV Cause Skin Cancer? Cancer Research UK elaborate on:

“Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the genetic material (the DNA) in your skin cells. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer. Anyone can develop skin cancer, but some people can have a higher risk”.10

Early Detection

What skin changes may be cancer?

The (United States) National Institute on Aging (NIA) explain:

“Check your skin once a month for things that may be signs of cancer. Skin cancer is rarely painful. Look for changes such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a bleeding mole”.11

In Skin Cancer: Skin Cancer Symptoms the Cancer Council Australia note:

“Become familiar with the look of your skin, so you pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer. Look for:

  • Any crusty, non-healing sores
  • Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months”.12

In Detect Skin Cancer the American Academy of Dermatology explain:

Skin Cancer
“You can detect skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin. Download the AAD’s body mole map to document your self-examination, or the How To SPOT Skin Cancer™ Infographic and know what to look for when checking your spots”.13

ABCDE’s

What do the ABCDE’s stand for?

In Skin Care and Aging: Skin Cancer the NIA elaborate on:

“Check Moles, Birthmarks, or Other Parts of the Skin for the “ABCDE’s”

  • A = Asymmetry (one half of the growth looks different from the other half)
  • B = Borders that are irregular
  • C = Color changes or more than one color
  • D = Diameter greater than the size of a pencil eraser
  • E Evolving; this means the growth changes in size, shape, symptoms (itching, tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or shades of color

See your doctor right away if you have any of these signs to make sure it is not skin cancer”.14

Health Care Provider

What if I have some skin changes, including down there?

If you have some skin changes – anywhere, including “down there” – it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this as soon as possible.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Skin Cancer?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Skin Cancer?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Skin Care and Aging: Skin Cancer. Content Reviewed: 01 October 2017. National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging Accessed: 14 August 2020
  2. Skin Cancer Prevention (PDQ)–Patient Version: General Information About Skin Cancer – Key Points. Updated: 10 April 2019. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/skin-prevention-pdq#section/_4 Accessed: 14 August 2020
  3. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Melanoma. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/M Accessed: 14 August 2020
  4. About Melanoma Skin Cancer: Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer – How Common Is Melanoma? Last Medical Review: 14 August 2019. Last Revised: 08 January 2020. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html Accessed: 14 August 2020
  5. Melanoma Skin Cancer: What Is Melanoma? How Common Is It? Last Reviewed: 17 December 2018. Cancer Research UK https://about-cancer.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/melanoma/about Accessed: 14 August 2020
  6. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Basal Cell Carcinoma. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 14 August 2020
  7. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/S Accessed: 14 August 2020
  8. About Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Key Statistics for Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. Last Medical Review: 26 July 2019. Last Revised: 08 January 2020. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html Accessed: 14 August 2020
  9. Skin Cancer: What Is Skin Cancer? – How Common Is It? Last Reviewed: 13 September 2019. Cancer Research UK https://about-cancer.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/skin-cancer/about-skin-cancer Accessed: 14 August 2020
  10. How Does the Sun and UV Cause Cancer? How Can UV Cause Skin Cancer? Last Reviewed: 29 April 2019. Cancer Research UK https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer Accessed: 14 August 2020
  11. Skin Care and Aging: Skin Cancer. Content Reviewed: 01 October 2017. National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging Accessed: 14 August 2020
  12. Skin Cancer: Skin Cancer Symptoms. Cancer Council Australia https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html Accessed: 14 August 2020
  13. Detect Skin Cancer. American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/detect Accessed: 14 August 2020
  14. Skin Care and Aging: Skin Cancer. Content Reviewed: 01 October 2017. National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging Accessed: 14 August 2020

Topic Last Updated: 14 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 14 August 2020
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