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Woman With Irregular Mole And A Dermatologist At The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center Of Wilmington Evaluating Her Skin For Skin Cancer

All About Skin Cancer: Common Types, Warning Signs, Risk Factors & Treatment Options

With the number of skin cancer cases rising year after year, it’s important to know as much as you can about this common disease. Ensuring you know about the different types of skin cancers, their warning signs and symptoms, various risk factors, and most effective skin cancer treatment options is crucial for protecting your skin. 

Read our short skin cancer guide below to learn more about how you can reduce your risk and make sure your skin stays as healthy as possible. 

All About Skin Cancer: Types, Warning Signs, Risk Factors & Treatment Options

Common Skin Cancer Types 

Did you know 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 70? And that the type of skin cancer someone is diagnosed with will likely be 1 of 3 types that are most commonly diagnosed in the US? Learn more about these common skin cancer types below. 


Basal Cell Carcinoma 

Over 4 million new cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are diagnosed every year in the United States, making it the most common form of skin cancer. BCCs develop when normal basal cells located within the epidermis and/or hair follicle (the top layer of the skin) develop a mutation in their DNA and begin to replicate out of control.  


Squamous Cell Carcinoma 

This is the second most common type of skin cancer, with around one million new cases diagnosed each year in the USA. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is caused by DNA damage to squamous cells found in the topmost layer of skin (epidermis). 


Melanoma Skin Cancer 

Though melanoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer diagnosed in the US, it is much more rare than basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. 

Although more rare, it is much more dangerous than the other two, as it has a higher risk of spreading to other parts of the body. Melanoma skin cancer develops in the melanocytes, which are the pigment-producing cells found in the epidermis (topmost layer of the skin). 


Skin Cancer Warning Signs & Symptoms 

Skin cancer can show up anywhere on the body, though the most common places are locations exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, shoulders, arms, back, ears, and hands. 

The most common warning signs and symptoms of skin cancer include: 

  • A mole that doesn’t look like those around it. 
  • Dark brown to black-colored spot, or a spot with more than one color
  • Redness or swelling around a mole or spot. 
  • Changes in sensation in or around a mole or spot, including itching, tenderness, or pain.
  • An open sore that won’t heal (or heals and then returns). 
  • A spot that crusts or bleeds. 
  • Irritated patch of skin that may crust, itch, bleed, and hurt. 
  • A shiny bump or node on the skin.
  • Small raised growth with an indentation in the center. (May look like a persistent pimple.)
  • Patch of skin that may look like eczema but refuses to go away. 
  • Scar-like skin that isn’t from a known injury. The skin is often pulled taut with irregular edges. 
  • Rough, thick, wart-like skin that may crust over and bleed.

As you can see, there are a lot of warning signs and symptoms of skin cancer – and this list is by no means exhaustive! If you have a suspicious spot or area on your skin that is showing some of the signs mentioned above, we recommend visiting a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible for a thorough skin evaluation. 


Risk Factors 

So what is a “risk factor” for skin cancer? Well, it’s simply anything that increases your likelihood of developing a disease. Risk factors for skin cancer include: 

  • Using tanning beds. 
  • Multiple sunburns. 
  • Fair appearance (lighter skin, blue or green eyed, red or blond hair). 
  • Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays. 
  • Family history of skin cancer. 
  • Atypical moles or a large amount of moles. 

Though you may have a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to uncontrollable circumstances, such as a fairer appearance or several moles, you can implement some preventative measure to reduce the chance of getting skin cancer! Take a look at these 5 ways you can prevent skin cancer


Skin Cancer Treatment Options 

Though skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, there are several skin cancer treatment options that are effective at curing this disease. 

At the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington, our dermatologists use a few different methods to treat skin cancer. This includes: 

To learn more about the different ways we treat skin cancer at our state-of-the-art clinic in Wilmington, NC, get in touch with our dermatologists or schedule an appointment online today. 


Board-Certified Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Wilmington, NC 

Do you have an atypical mole or suspicious spot on your skin? Our board-certified dermatologists are experienced in evaluating, diagnosing and treating skin cancer, and we’re happy to help you restore the health of your skin! Schedule an appointment online or get in touch by calling (910) 782-0028


If you’re ready to schedule your skin cancer evaluation or treatment, get in touch with the Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington. Call us at (910) 782-0028 to schedule a skin consultation. 

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