Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a serious disease that can affect anyone. It is the most common form of cancer. If caught early, skin cancer can often be treated with success. But in some cases, it is life-threatening. To play it safe, start doing monthly skin checkups. If you see any changes in your skin, contact your doctor right away. Read on to learn more.
There are other types of skin cancer as well, including Merkel cell cancer and cutaneous (skin) lymphomas, but these cancers are rare.
A precancerous skin change
Actinic keratosis is not skin cancer. It is a common, precancerous skin change that can turn into a squamous cell skin cancer if left untreated over a long period of time. Actinic keratosis lesions tend to appear on sun-exposed parts of the body. They can be reddish-brown or skin-colored. These lesions are most often raised, scaly, and rough, like sandpaper. In some cases, actinic keratosis lesions are painful. Getting early treatment for actinic keratoses almost always cures the lesions. Treatment includes freezing them with liquid nitrogen or applying a topical prescription medication. You may need a biopsy so your health care provider can find out whether it is advanced actinic keratosis or an early skin cancer.