Basal Cell Carcinoma, one of the three most common skin cancers, is so prevalent that it is the most common cancer in humans. Over one million Americans are diagnosed with Basal Cell carcinoma each year. That computes to roughly one in five people over their lifetime. Prevention as well as early detection are critical to minimize the impact of skin cancer on our lives.
The most common skin cancers are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma Malignant Melanoma
Your risk factors for developing skin cancer include:
Fair skin, especially those with red hair and blue eyes
A history of excessive sun exposure or sunburns
A family history of skin cancer
Many atypical appearing moles
a weakened immune system such as in patients that are solid organ transplant recipients
a history of radiation exposure
Basal Cell Carcinoma normally presents as a painless, slowly growing, fleshy or pearly bump on the skin that will characteristically bleed with minor trauma, such as washing or toweling off after a shower.
Squamous cell carcinoma is normally a more rapidly growing, painful red and/or scaly bump on the skin.
Malignant Melanoma most commonly presents as an irregularly pigmented lesion on the skin. It normally follows the "ABCDs" of melanoma which stand for Asymmetry, irregular Border, varied Color, large Diameter. Melanoma is the deadliest of the three most common skin cancer. Thousands of Americans die each year from metastatic melanoma.
The best way to minimize the impact of skin cancer is to both regularly examine your skin and to have an annual skin exam and mole mapping by your dermatologist.