The sun is the primary source of excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is the cause of most skin cancers. Immediate adverse effects of excessive exposure are sunburn and eye damage; longer effects include premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It begins in cells in the skin called melanocytes (cells that produce pigment and cause your skin to tan). It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
For more information on melanoma, please read What You Need to Know AboutTM Melanoma from the National Cancer Institute.
Other types of skin cancer are referred to as Nonmelanoma. The most common are basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. These cancers make up the overwhelming majority of skin cancer cases. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms, but can occur in other places as well.
- Basal cell skin cancer grows slowly. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that have been in the sun. It is most common on the face. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
- Squamous cell skin cancer also occurs on parts of the skin that have been in the sun. But it also may be in places that are not in the sun. Squamous cell cancer sometimes spreads to lymph nodes and organs inside the body.
For more information on basal and squamous cell cancer, please read What You Need to Know AboutTM Skin Cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
Other less-common forms of nonmelanoma skin cancer include:
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Cutaneous lymphoma
- National Cancer Institute. (2003). What You Need to Know AboutTM Melanoma. Retrieved March 7, 2010, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/melanoma
- National Cancer Institute. (2003). What You Need to Know AboutTM Skin Cancer. Retrieved March 7, 2010, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/skin
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