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The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (both are often grouped in nonmelanoma skin cancers) and melanoma.
Because skin cancers are caused by the uncontrolled growth of skin cells, the first presentation is usually a visible change in a person's skin. Consult a trained physician immediately if you observe any of these warning signs associated with common skin cancers:
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are some of the most treatable cancers. When melanoma is caught and treated early (before it spreads to the lymph nodes), it is also highly curable. The goal of treatment for skin cancer is to remove, or excise, all of the cancer. Typically, the first line therapies are surgical. Non-surgical treatments may be an option in some cases.
The type of surgical treatment used depends on the type, size, depth and location of the tumor. In most cases, the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The most common surgical procedures to remove cancerous areas of the skin are:
Radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be necessary for advanced cases of skin cancer or when patients are unable to have surgery. Learn more about treatment for melanoma skin cancers.
The incidence of skin cancer has been increasing quickly for the past few years. One in two men and one in three women will develop nonmelanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Once a patient has a nonmelanoma skin cancer, there is a much higher risk of developing more skin cancers.
The risks factors for developing nonmelanoma skin cancer include:
Individuals at higher risk of melanoma include those with:
Sun exposure can damage your skin during any season, but summer rays are more harmful and can raise the risk of developing skin cancer. Tips for smart sun care include:
Oluwakemi Onajin, MD, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist at UChicago Medicine, explains the science behind sunscreen and the best ways to protect your skin from the sun.Learn More About Sunscreen and Sun Protection
Cancer treatment hasn't slowed architect Anwar Hakim down. And he wants to keep it that way. Hakim's melanoma was treated with a combination immunotherapy based on UChicago Medicine research. The treatment worked quickly and side effects were minimal, allowing Hakim to maintain a full work and travel schedule while receiving the therapy.