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Home Health Disease Health Skin Cancer
About Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma usually presents as a raised, smooth, pearly bump on the sun-exposed skin of the head, neck or shoulders. Sometimes small blood vessels can be seen within the tumor. Crusting and bleeding in the center of the tumor frequently develops. It is often mistaken for a sore that does not heal. This form of skin cancer is the least deadly and with proper treatment can be completely eliminated, often without scarring.
Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is commonly a red, scaling, thickened patch on sun-exposed skin. Some are firm hard nodules and dome shaped like keratoacanthomas. Ulceration and bleeding may occur. When SCC is not treated, it may develop into a large mass. Squamous cell is the second most common skin cancer. It is dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as a melanoma.

Melanoma

Most melanomas consist of various colors from shades of brown to black. A small amount of melanomas are pink, red or fleshy in color; these are called amelanotic melanomas which tend to be more aggressive. Warning signs of malignant melanoma include change in the size, shape, color or elevation of a mole. Other signs are the appearance of a new mole during adulthood or pain, itching, ulceration, redness around the site, or bleeding at the site. An often-used mnemonic is "ABCDE", where A is for "asymmetrical", B for "borders" (irregular: "Coast of Maine sign"), C for "color" (variegated), D for "diameter" (larger than 6 mm—the size of a pencil eraser) and E for "evolving.

Pathophysiology
Micrograph of melanoma. FNA specimen. Field stain

A malignant epithelial tumor that primarily originates in the epidermis, in squamous mucosa or in areas of squamous metaplasia is referred to as a squamous cell

carcinoma.

Macroscopically, the tumor is often elevated, fungating, or may be ulcerated with irregular borders. Microscopically, tumor cells destroy the basement membrane and form sheets or compact masses which invade the subjacent connective tissue (dermis). In well differentiated carcinomas, tumor cells are pleomorphic/atypical, but resembling normal keratinocytes from prickle layer (large, polygonal, with abundant eosinophilic (pink) cytoplasm and central nucleus).

Prevention

Sunscreen is effective and thus recommended to prevent melanoma[27] and squamous cell carcinoma. There is little evidence that it is effective in preventing basal cell carcinoma.Other advice to reduce rates of skin cancer includes: avoiding sunburning, wearing protective clothing, sunglasses and hats, and attempting to avoid sun exposure or periods of peak exposure.[30] The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people between 9 and 25 years of age be advised to avoid ultraviolet light.

Reconstruction

Currently, surgical excision is the most common form of treatment for skin cancers. The goal of reconstructive surgery is restoration of normal appearance and function. The choice of technique in reconstruction is dictated by the size and location of the defect. Excision and reconstruction of facial skin cancers is generally more challenging due to presence of highly visible and functional anatomic structures in the face.

Prognosis

The mortality rate of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are around 0.3% causing 2000 deaths per year in the US. In comparison the mortality rate of melanoma is 15–20% and it causes 6500 deaths per year.[39]:29,31 Even though it is much less common, malignant melanoma is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer-related deaths.

Epidemiology

In the UK in 2010, 12,818 people were diagnosed with melanoma, and about 100,000 people were diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. There were 2,746 deaths from skin cancer, 2,203 from malignant melanoma and 546 from non-malignant melanoma.

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