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Skin Cancer Information

Skin cancer is by far the most common form of malignancy. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The statistic does not account for melanoma cases, which occur less frequently but are considerably more dangerous.

As the largest organ in the body, the skin is susceptible to several types of cancer that can be brought on by environmental factors like sun exposure, genetic predispositions, or both. Skin cancer typically develops in areas that are commonly exposed to sunlight, but may occur on any area of the body depending on the type of malignancy. There are several types of skin cancer, but the large majority of cases are classified as a basal cell carcinoma/squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma.

  • Basal and squamous cell carcinomas – The most common forms of cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinomas develop either in the basal or squamous cell layers of the epidermis. They can appear as an open wound, flaky patch, waxy bump, wart, or as other skin irregularities. It is rare for these cancers to spread to surrounding tissues and become deadly, but it is possible. Prompt treatment is necessary to ensure the cancer does not spread and to avoid permanent disfigurement.
  • Melanoma – This type of skin cancer forms in the melanocytes, which are the cells that produce skin pigment. Melanoma can appear as a mole or grow from an existing mole, and is most often black or brown. Although the incidence of melanoma is far less common than basal or squamous cell carcinomas, it accounts for most skin cancer-related deaths. As with most other cancers, diagnosis in an early stage can lead to a better prognosis. 

Tampa General Hospital offers specialized treatment for all types of skin cancer. Our experienced physicians utilize advanced medical technology and treatments to target each patient’s specific type of malignancy.