Skin Cancer Surveillance & Treatment

Skin Cancer

Skin CancerSkin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Each year, about one million people find out they have skin cancer. Skin Cancer affects 1 in 5 Americans. In 85 percent of these cases, damage to the skin that results in cancer occurs before the person reaches the age of 18. Fortunately, better methods of treating the disease mean it is now almost always curable if found early.

What is Skin Cancer?

People get skin cancer when, for reasons that are not yet known, cells within their bodies divide without control or order. The body is made up of many types of cells, and it is normal for them to grow, divide and produce more cells when the body needs them. Cancer occurs when cells keep dividing, even when new cells are not needed. The mass of extra cells may produce a tumor that can be:

1. Benign (not cancer) — Benign tumors are rarely life threatening, and they do not spread to other parts of the body. They can usually be removed and usually do not grow back.

2. Malignant (cancer) — Malignant tumors can harm nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

What Does The Skin Do?

Epidermis or outer layer of skin that is mostly made up of flat, scale-like squamous cells. Under these cells are round basal cells. The deepest part of the epidermis also contains melanocytes. These cells produce melanin, which gives your skin its color. Dermis or inner layer of skin contains blood and lymph vessels, hair follicles and glands. These glands produce sweat, which helps regulate your body’s temperature, and sebum, an oily substance that keeps your skin from drying out. Both reach your skin’s surface through small openings called pores.

Common Skin Cancers