At our Brown Bag Lunch on March 26, Scott Condie, Certified Physician's Assistant from Southwest Skin & Cancer, talked about skin problems, the different types of skin cancer, and answered questions for about 30 minutes, then he invited anyone interested to have him examine any skin concerns, and he advised as to whether the area was of concern or not.
Skin cancer generally falls into one of three varieties:
- Basal cell carcinoma - the most common type, usually slow growing and easily removed
- seldom metastasizes to other body areas
- the problem is usually where they occur and whether scarring is a problem (on the face, for example) and/or plastic surgery is needed
- often caused by prolonged sun or tanning bed exposure
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma - about 25% of the number of basal cell lesions, a small number do become invasive (spread)
- frequently ulcerate in the center
- long-term, cumulative sun exposure is the most common cause,
- Melanoma - the most serious skin cancer
- can be life-threatening if allowed to advance
- usually brown-black or multi-colored plaques or nodules with irregular outline
- may crust or bleed
- look for warning signs of asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter (usually large), evolving or changing.
Actinic keratoses are pre-cancers caused by the sun, usually appear as small, crusty or scaly bumps, most are benign but some can develop into invasive squamous cell carcinomas if untreated.