About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. All three are known to be associated with skin damage caused by the sun or tanning beds. These cancers are preventable and treatable with early detection. Knowing the signs and symptoms to look for can help keep you and your family healthy.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Although it represents only about 1% of all skin cancers, it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma occurs when the pigment producing cells in the skin are damaged and become cancerous. Therefore melanoma most often has the appearance of an abnormal mole. Melanoma can be cured when detected early. However, if the cancer metastasizes it is very difficult to treat and can be fatal. When looking at your own skin it is important to keep in mind the “ABCDEs” of melanoma.