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PRECANCERS AND SKIN CANCER

More people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every year than any other form of cancer, and about 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Needless to say, dermatologists are quite busy. However, not all skin cancers are melanoma. In fact, two other types of skin cancer are much more prevalent than melanoma; they are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Read more below to find out more about these types of skin cancer and when to make an appointment with a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening.

    Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of cancer out there with about 3.6 million cases in the US reported annually. About 90% of cases of BCC are found on the head, neck, and other sun exposed areas. They grow very slowly, but if left untreated they have the potential to spread to nearby skin tissue and bone. A lot of patients report to their dermatologist, “I’ve had this pimple on my face for a while and it just won’t heal.” When treated promptly, basal cell carcinomas have a very high cure rate. It is important to keep in mind that people with a history of BCC are at about a 40% chance of growing another BCC in their lifetime, so regular skin cancer screenings with dermatology is crucial.


    Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 1.8 million cases in the US every year. Again, when detected early, there is a high cure rate. On the other hand, unlike BCC, SCC has the potential to spread to other vital organs. About 15,000 people in the US die of SCC every year. New spots on your skin that bleed and just don’t heal should be evaluated by a dermatologist as it is usually a sign of skin cancer. Biopsies of non healing lesions can be performed in a dermatology office with minimal risks and no downtime.

    Actinic keratoses, precursors to squamous cell carcinomas, are considered precancerous lesions that if left untreated may progress to become SCC. They develop after years of sun exposure and feel like little scaly warts on your skin. Treatment with cryotherapy for these is important and can easily be done in the comfort of the dermatology office. Topical medications that can be applied at home is another treatment option for actinic keratoses.


    Melanoma is the form of skin cancer most people have heard about, with about 200,000 cases reported annually in the US. It is also the most deadly form of skin cancer, being responsible for about 80% of all skin cancer deaths in the US. However, when detected early during a skin cancer screening in a dermatology office, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Most melanomas develop in normal skin, but some melanomas are found in existing moles. If you notice a new mole or a change in a mole it is best to make a dermatology appointment for an evaluation.

    Skin cancer screenings are at the heart of every dermatology practice, and Clear Skin For You is no exception. A thorough skin cancer screening with a dermatology expert is one of the best ways to catch the earliest warning signs of skin cancer. If you need a skin cancer screening, give us a call today at 410-870-8225 to schedule your skin cancer screening today.