“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…”.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
  • Basal 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 2023 are:

  • About 97,610 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 58,120 in men and 39,490 in women)”.4

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

“Around 16,700 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year. The number of people diagnosed with melanoma has increased over the last few decades

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 in the United States. 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 people, 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 156,000 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 Does UV Cause Skin Cancer? Cancer Research UK elaborate on:

“Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the DNA in our skin cells. DNA tells our cells how to function. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to grow out of control, which can lead to skin cancer”.10

Early Detection

What skin changes may be cancer?

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

“Become familiar with the look of your skin, particularly spots and moles, 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”.11

In Find Skin Cancer: How To Perform A Skin Self-Exam. the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explain:

“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”.12

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.

In Find Skin Cancer: How To Perform A Skin Self-Exam the AAD also note:

“If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist”.13

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z 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. About Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Key Statistics for Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. Last Revised: 31 October 2023. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html Accessed: 01 May 2024
  2. Skin Cancer Prevention (PDQ)–Patient Version: General Information About Skin Cancer – Key Points. Updated: 23 October 2023. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/skin-prevention-pdq#section/_4 Accessed: 01 May 2024
  3. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Melanoma. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/M Accessed: 01 May 2024
  4. About Melanoma Skin Cancer: Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer – How Common Is Melanoma? Last Revised: 31 October 2023. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html Accessed: 01 May 2024
  5. Melanoma Skin Cancer: What Is Melanoma Skin Cancer? How Common Is Melanoma Skin Cancer? Last Reviewed: 02 February 2024. Cancer Research UK https://about-cancer.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/melanoma/about Accessed: 01 May 2024
  6. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Basal Cell Carcinoma. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 01 May 2024
  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: 01 May 2024
  8. About Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Key Statistics for Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. Last Revised: 31 October 2023. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html Accessed: 01 May 2024
  9. Skin Cancer: What Is Skin Cancer? – How Common Is Skin Cancer? Last Reviewed: 16 December 2022. Cancer Research UK https://about-cancer.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/skin-cancer/about-skin-cancer Accessed: 01 May 2024
  10. How Does the Sun and UV Cause Cancer? How Does UV Cause Skin Cancer? Last Reviewed: 30 November 2023. Cancer Research UK https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer Accessed: 01 May 2024
  11. Skin Cancer: Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms. Cancer Council Australia https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html Accessed: 01 May 2024
  12. Find Skin Cancer: How To Perform A Skin Self-Exam. Last Updated: 15 May 2023. American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/detect Accessed: 01 May 2024
  13. Find Skin Cancer: How To Perform A Skin Self-Exam. Last Updated: 15 May 2023. American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/detect Accessed: 01 May 2024
Topic Last Updated: 07 July 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 01 May 2024

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