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Skin Cancer

Symptoms

  • A change in the skin - especially a new growth or a sore that won’t heal
  • Flat, red, scaly spots can often mean pre-cancerous changes in the skin
  • A change in size, shape, color or feel of an existing mole

Risk Factors

  • Exposure to sun
  • Fair skin that burns and freckles easily
  • Multiple moles (greater than 50)

Facts

  • The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer (these rarely spread to other areas but should be removed because they invade and destroy nearby tissue)
  • The most dangerous type of skin cancer is a malignant melanoma (these usually arise in a mole, are usually dark in color and can spread to internal organs)

Statistics

  • Each year, one million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer
  • Each year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma

Tests

  • A sample of a suspicious skin lesion can be removed with a biopsy and viewed under a microscope to see if it is or is not cancer


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