Things to know about Skin Cancer
1) Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ. The skin has several layers, but the two main layers are the epidermis (upper or outer layer) and the dermis (lower or inner layer). There are several types of cancer of the skin. The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are nonmelanoma skin cancers. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is a much rarer type of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that sometimes becomes squamous cell carcinoma.
2) Skin color and being exposed to sunlight can increase the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer and actinic keratosis. Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk.
3) Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options. The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends mostly on the stage of cancer and the type of treatment used to remove the cancer.
4) After nonmelanoma skin cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the skin or to other parts of the body. Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood.
5) There are different types of treatment for patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer and actinic keratosis. There are different types of treatment for patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer and actinic keratosis. Six types of standard treatment are used: Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Photodynamic therapy, Biologic therapy, and Targeted therapy. Also, new types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.
For more information on any of these topics: https://www.cancer.gov/publishedcontent/syndication/5162.htm