Having just had another skin cancer removed from my face I feel it is time to remind all of you what a threat this presents to all of us outdoor hobbyists. There are 3 types of Skin Cancer : basal cell, squamous cell, and malignant melanoma with melanoma being the most dangerous. I have had numerous Skin Cancers removed and have been fortunate in that they were all Basal Cell types, although the first one I had required rebuilding my right lower eyelid with skin grafts. If you have a spot on your body that itches and sometimes gets red and maybe flakes off ­ suspect it ­ and get it checked. The sun is our principal enemy in this and the effects are cumulative from birth. Your best defense is to stay out of the sun, but we know that’s not going to happen, so use a quality sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or more (I use a 45 SPF) and wear broad brimmed hats (Yes, that silly looking hat I wear does serve a purpose <Grin>) and if you have a suspicious looking or feeling spot see your doctor.Following is an explanation of the different types:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

What is basal cell carcinoma?Basal cell cancer, sometimes called non-­melanoma skin cancer, usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body, usually as flat growths. Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancers in the United States. It is often easily detected and has an excellent record for successful treatment. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the cure rate for basal cell carcinoma is 95 percent, when properly treated. Although this type of cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, it can extend below the skin to the bone and cause considerable local damage. And, non-­melanoma skin cancer places people at high risk for developing additional skin cancers.

Who is at risk for basal cell carcinoma?Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer found in Caucasians. It seldom occurs in dark ­skinned persons. People who have this cancer frequently have light hair, eyes, and complexions, and they do not tan easily.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

Squamous cell skin cancer (sometimes referred to as non-­melanoma carcinoma) may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin. This form of cancer develops in approximately 200,000 persons per year. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the cure rate for squamous cell carcinoma is 95 percent, when properly treated.

Where is squamous cell carcinoma found?Squamous cell carcinoma is typically is found on the rim of the ear, face, lips and mouth, however, it can spread to other parts of the body. Although generally more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, this cancer is highly treatable

Melanoma

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin. Melanoma usually occurs in adults, but it may occasionally be found in children and adolescents. Melanoma may also be called cutaneous melanoma or malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the rarest, but most virulent, form of skin cancer. Melanoma is a more serious type of cancer than the more common basal cell cancer, or squamous cell cancer. Although the incidence of melanoma is lower than other types of skin cancer, it has the highest death rate and is responsible for 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer.

Where is melanoma most often found?

Melanoma most often appears on fair­skinned men and women, but people with other skin types can be affected. Rarely, melanomas can form in parts of the body not covered by skin such as the eyes, mouth, vagina, large intestine, and other internal organs.

Common sense preventive techniques include limiting recreational sun exposure; avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun during peak radiation times (the hours surrounding noon); wearing broad ­brimmed hats and tightly ­woven protective clothing while outdoors in the sun; regularly using a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen with UVA protection and SPF 30 or higher; undergoing regular checkups and bringing any suspicious ­looking or changing lesions to the attention of the  doctor.