Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
Last week, we discussed some signs of melanoma to watch out for when looking at a skin growth. There are 2 other types of skin cancer, and they are both more common than melanoma, but tend to look quite different.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. As with the other 2 types of skin cancer, BCC is associated with long term exposure to UV radiation from the sun. BCC tends to occur on areas of skin that tend to be more exposed to the sun, such as head and neck. BCC often looks like a slightly transparent, shiny, skin colored bump on the skin. It is sometimes possible to see tiny blood vessels in the bump.
The 2nd most common type of skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). SCC is usually not life-threatening, but it can be if left untreated. As with BCC, SCC tends to appear on the areas of skin exposed to the sun more frequently, like scalp, hands, or ears. SCC tends to look like a red, flat sore with a scaly crust. It can also be raised and can look similar to a scab.
As with many skin diseases, rashes and lesions look different from person to person, but googling images of the 3 types can help get a general idea. Knowing how to spot a skin lesion with suspicious characteristics may just help someone get a much earlier diagnosis which greatly reduces risk of the skin cancer spreading. P.s. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Joshua White, PA-C