7. Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Nonmelanoma skin cancer refer to cancers that are not melanoma, yet occur in the skin. The two most common types are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Basal cell carcinomas begin in the top layer of skin, also called the epidermis, and can appear anywhere on the body, but are usually found on the parts that receive the most sun exposure. This type of skin cancer tends to develop gradually over time, and doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, whereas squamous cell carcinomas appear quickly and can grow rapidly over weeks or months.
Nonmelanoma skin cancers occur when the cells are damaged, by things like over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, and tend to affect people with fair skin, freckles, light eye and hair color, or those who have had previous skin cancers. Other risk factors include the use of tanning beds, gender, age, and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of nonmelanoma skin cancers can often be confused with symptoms of other diseases, and as such they can be hard to diagnose.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma symptoms include open sores that bleed or ooze and refuse to heal for an extensive period of time, raised, itchy red patches, and shiny pink, red, white or translucent bumps that appear shiny. Squamous cell carcinoma symptoms include growths that look like warts, scaly red patches that bleed easily and don’t go away, open sores that have trouble healing and more.
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of a skin cancer, it’s important to get tested immediately. Prognosis depends on the type and size of skin cancer and the age and general health of the patient, but the majority of nonmelanoma skin cancers can be successfully treated. Treatment includes biopsy, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer includes avoiding direct exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods of time, using a high-SPF sunscreen, wearing sun-protection clothing and properly examining your skin for any changing or new moles and sun spots.