MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kristine A. Romine MD
CEO and Founder of Camelback Dermatology & Skin Surgery
MedicalResearch.com: Would you give a brief overview of the different types of skin cancer?
Response: There are multiple types of skin cancer, including: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and actinic keratosis. Known as the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma develops when irreparable DNA damage results in malignant transformation of melanocytes. This type of skin cancer is most commonly caused by intense UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds, which activate mutations that lead skin cells to rapidly multiply and form malignant tumors. Melanoma can range in color from dark brown to black and are rarely red or even skin colored. They are usually irregular and asymmetrical. In 2018, there were an estimated 91,270 new cases of melanoma (American Cancer Society, 2018).
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and cancer diagnosed. BCCs arise in the skins’ outermost layers. BCCs resemble open sores, red or pink plaques, pearly nodules with telangiectasia, or scars. It is estimated that 4.3 million BCCs are diagnosed in the U.S. every year (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2018).
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common type of skin cancer, arises from the squamous cells in the skin that have been exposed to UV over long periods of time. SCCs appear as scaly red or pink macules, papules, or plaques. They can be crusted and appear eroded and can commonly arise within a solar keratosis. More than 1 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. every year (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2018).
Lastly, actinic keratoses (AKs) are the most common pre-cancerous skin growth that can develop into a SCC if left untreated. Similar to all other types, AKs are caused by exposure to UV light and, in rare cases, high exposures to x-rays. AKs can appear on sun-exposed areas, including the face, scalp, ears, shoulders, and legs. They resemble pink, scaly rough patches on the skin.