Skin cancer is usually a result of too much sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Many types of skin cancer are both preventable and treatable. There are five different types of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form, accounting for 90 percent of all skin cancers. It starts in the basal cells, at the bottom of the outer skin layer. This skin cancer is caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. It is the most easily treated.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It starts in the outer skin layer, eventually penetrating the underlying tissue if not treated. It is easily treated when found early, but in a small percentage of cases, this cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and it is responsible for the most deaths. However, it can be cured if it is diagnosed and removed early. Melanoma starts in moles or other growths on normal skin.
Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is caused by a virus in the herpes family. This aggressive AIDS-related form affects about one-third of people with AIDS. A more slow-growing form occurs in elderly men of Italian or Jewish ancestry.
Most skin cancers occur on parts of the body that are repeatedly exposed to the sun, including the head, neck, face, ears, hands, forearms, shoulders, back, lower legs and chests.
Basal cell carcinoma:
Squamous cell carcinoma:
The only way to know for sure whether a mole or spot on your skin is cancer is to have a doctor look at it.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer may also be due to genetics or radiation treatments. A virus causes Kaposi's sarcoma.
People at risk for developing skin cancer may have the following conditions or characteristics: