Skin cancer is currently the most frequently occurring malign tumor in people with fair skin and its incidence rates have increased progressively over recent years. Tumors can appear on any part of the body and present different forms (crusts, lumps, sores, moles, etc.).
There are many types of skin cancer, among which the following have the highest incidence rates: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is the most common type of skin cancer but it is also one which presents a slower growth rate and has less chance of spreading. One of the main risk factors is chronic sun exposure and as a result it is normally found on the areas of the skin which are most exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck or back. It generally has a good prognosis if diagnosed early.
How to detect it: It normally appears in the form of a firm, scar-like bump with small veins on the surface, which may occasionally bleed spontaneously and for no apparent reason.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is more closely related to sun exposure but, unlike basal cell carcinoma, it is more aggressive, grows faster and can generate metastasis. In this type of cancer, early diagnosis is vital to prevent it from possibly spreading to other organs and to provide immediate treatment in its early stages.
How to detect it: It can appear in the form of growths like warts, which grow quickly and may have reddish tones.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which originates in the melanocytes, the cells responsible for the skin’s pigmentation. It is one of the most aggressive types of cancer and it has the capacity to spread rapidly so early detection is vitally important. Consequently, it is advisable to get moles and freckles checked regularly and to consult a dermatologist if you detect any changes in them or if any abnormalities appear on your skin.
How to detect it: It tends to be similar to a nevus, in other words pigmented freckles or moles, but ones which are asymmetrical, with irregular edges and distinctive colors (red, black, etc.), and which are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter. That is why cutaneous screening is so important.