What is Skin Cancer? Answers to your Questions

Perhaps you have just received a diagnosis of skin cancer. While cancer of any type is scary news to most of us, there are some cancers that are easier to treat than others. If you are wondering what the future holds for you after this diagnosis, the first step in dealing with your illness is to find answers to the question, what is skin cancer and how is it treated? And while your doctor is the best person to help you with this information, there are some basic facts that will get you on the road to understanding this disease.

So what is skin cancer? Basically, skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, and it can occur at any time and on any area of the skin. There are three different types of skin cancer, and the type that you have will determine the best treatment options for you. The majority of skin cancer is fairly easy to treat and rarely spreads. However, there is a third type of skin cancer that is called melanoma. This is the rarest type of skin cancer, but it can also be the most serious – especially when it is not caught early. Because of this, it is important to understand what skin cancer is, how you can prevent it and what the early screening methods are.


Prevention of skin cancer is obviously more effective than treating the disease once it occurs. While there is no way to definitively prevent this illness, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk factor. These steps include protecting your skin while you are out in the sun through your clothing choices or sunscreen. It also means staying out of tanning salons, since the rays used in these booths can be just as harmful as the sun’s rays, if not more so. It also involves getting annual skin cancer screenings, and keeping an eye on your skin for any changes or new developments that you need to let your doctor know about.

The next part to understanding what skin cancer is will be to learn about the three different types of this disease. The first and most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which is the easiest to cure because it rarely spreads. The next type of skin cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer is also fairly easy to treat, although it can spread slightly more often than basal cell carcinoma does. The third type of cancer is melanoma, and this is the one that can spread, sometimes to other areas of the body where it becomes much more difficult to treat effectively. However, when found early, the survival rate for melanoma can be as high as 99%.

By answering the question what is skin cancer, and learning about the methods of prevention and early detection, you can go far in protecting yourself from this disease. Skin cancer may be the most common form of cancer, but it doesn’t have to be the deadliest, thanks to what we know about the disease today.

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The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer.
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