Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly found type of skin cancer. It often starts in the basal cells and then branches out to other parts of the body. The basal cells typically create new skin cells over time, as the older ones eventually die off. It is thought to be caused from too much exposure to UV rays, which you can get by being out in the sun for long periods of time. That's why staying out of the sun and using ample amounts of sunscreen is recommended for protecting your skin against basal cell carcinoma. Those with basal cell carcinoma usually have a waxy bump on their skin as a result of it, although that's not always the case. Since this type of skin cancer is thought to be a direct result from too much time in the sun, the cancer is usually found on areas of the skin that received the most exposure like the face and neck.
Metatypical basal cell carcinoma is a subtype of the skin cancer known as Basal Cell Carcinoma. They have very similar properties, but the main difference here is that this skin cancer has the ability to spread and then develop metastasis. This makes it extremely dangerous if physicians don't recognize the cancer right away. Unfortunately, metatypical basal cell carcinoma has the capability of reoccurring in the body, which means that even when the skin cancer is treated, it can still come back. Diagnosis of this skin cancer is very rare, so a lot of clinicians aren't even aware of what they have to look for in metatypical basal cell carcinoma. That's why a deep biopsy is suggested for discovering this form of skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma is another common form of skin cancer that is found right in the body's thin, flat squamous cells. These cells make up the whole outer layer of the skin. This form of skin cancer is typically not life-threatening, although it can be a very aggressive type of cancer for some individuals. Even though it's not known to cause death, it still needs to be diagnosed and treated. That's because if it's not, the squamous cell carcinoma can branch out and spread to other parts of the body, while growing even larger in size. This can then lead to serious complications in the body. Like most other skin cancers, squamous cell carcinoma is often caused by being exposed to UV rays over a long period of time.
Out of all the forms of skin cancer, melanoma is by far the most serious and dangerous. That's because it develops right in the cells known as the melanocytes, which is what produces melanin in the body. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color. While obviously melanoma is a skin cancer, it can also occur in your eyes and internal organs. It's not clear what causes it, but having too much exposure to ultraviolet rays due to the sun or tanning beds can increase the risk of developing skin cancers and melanoma in particular.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your skin, including the diagnosis and treatment of moles and lesions, contact the dermatologists at any one of our various Orange County dermatology offices.