Skin Health | Problems Health and Cancer Treatment Can Prevent - But First you Have to Know It's Cancer

Skin Cancer Problem

According to JAMA, “From the 1960s to the 1980s, the incidence of squamous cell skin cancer increased 2.6 times in men and3.1 times in women, while incidence of melanoma rose 3.5-fold and 4.6-fold in men and women, respectively.”

Skin cancer is something that can touch just about anyone. While it is highly curable, it can also be deadly. The main key, other than prevention, is early detection.

Skin Health in Men and Women

Coreen was in her mid fifties when she noticed a tiny small hard red nodule on her nose. After putting it off for several weeks, she finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. Her doctor decided the best course of action was a biopsy. A week later when the biopsy came back, Coreen had a melanoma.

Brian was a swimmer on the high school swim team. At the age of 22, while in the shower, he realized something on his back was bleeding. He asked his wife to look at it. She said there was a small black spot on his back. He ignored it and within two weeks it had grown to the size of a quarter. He was diagnosed with Melanoma.

Dianna had a small mole on her back about the size of “a pencil eraser”. At the age of 29, she was too young to consider anything so small as "serious or life threatening". It didn’t bleed or cause any pain. She too was diagnosed with Melanoma.

picture of Skin layers compliments of
picture of Skin layers compliments of

Three types of Cancer that can affect your skin health

Basal cell carcinoma

What is basal cell carcinoma?

“Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and accounts for more than 90% of all skin cancer in the U.S. These cancers almost never spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They can, however, cause damage by growing and invading surrounding tissue.”

What does it look like?

  • It can be a pearly looking bump
  • It can look like a patch of dry skin
  • It can look like a rough red patch

How does a doctor treat it?

  • Cut it out
  • Freeze it with liquid nitrogen
  • Treat with radiation
  • Perform Mohs surgery. This is done by taking layers of skin off until there isn’t anymore cancer cells remaining.

Squamous cell carcinoma

What is squamous cell carcinoma?

“Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that begins in the squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales under the microscope. The word squamous came from the Latin squama, meaning "the scale of a fish or serpent" because of the appearance of the cells.”

Squamous cell carcinoma is different than basal cell. It can be found in several forms on the skin or could affect the lining “hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts”.

What does it look like?

  • Hard, skin-colored or red nodules
  • Rough, red bumps on the scalp, face, ears, and backs of the hands (Actinic keratoses).
  • A mound with a central crater (keratoacanthoma). This kind grows very fast.
  • The lower lip has redness and scale like skin (actinic cheilitis).
  • Scaly patches on sun-exposed parts of the body (Bowden’s disease)

How do they treat it?

  • Cut it out
  • Freeze it with liquid nitrogen
  • Treat with radiation
  • Perform Mohs surgery
  • Medical anti-cancer medications, like Efudex, applied directly to the area over a period of weeks (very irritating to the skin much like a burn).


What is Melanoma?

Melanoma occurs when the cells that make up your pigment become malignant. It can spread to your lymph system and then to your internal organs or brain.

What does it look like?

  • A mole that changes in any way
  • A dark spot or patch with irregular edges
  • It can also be a spot that is blue, tan, pink, white, gray or red
  • Itching, oozing or bleeding spot
  • Something growing under a nail
  • New pigmented line in a nail

How do they treat it?

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy

Different images of
Different images of

Your Skin Health- don't ignore any unusual changes in your skin

Up to a million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year…more than 7000 will die from melanoma. Coreen and Brian survived...Dianna, at the age of 33 died after a valiant four year fight.

Check your skin regularly and have someone check your back and scalp. It only takes a few minutes. If you see something unusual, no matter how small, have it checked out by the doctor. I am glad Coreen and Brian did...Coreen is my mom and Brian is my husband.

Taking care of your skin health is an important part of your regular health regime.

Is your cancer going undetected?

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Comments 14 comments

vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

The C word can be terrifying even to hear. I never even like to consider that I have any kind of cancer. I always figure if I don't think it, it won't exist!! I know, all not very good approaches to health nor to cancer prevention. Reading articles like this helps desensitize my fears, so thanks! Cool graphics as well.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

It really helps to find it early. I know (I really know) how scary it is! But don't ignore it :) Thanks vrbmft for sharing your thoughts on this. I know others can appreciate what you said too!

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Thanks for such excellent information. I'm glad yourfamily caught it in time.

drcrischasse profile image

drcrischasse 6 years ago from NH/Foxboro

Wow, I need to monitor this closely.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Dim Flaxenwick- thanks for your comment- i am glad too :)

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

drcrischasse - it is important for all of us. Thanks for stopping by! profile image 6 years ago

In Australia we have one of the highest incidence of skin cancer. Kids at kindy and schools are required to wear "sun smart" t-shirts and hats. People also don't realize even overcast days are dangerous for UV.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author - wow I had not heard that! Yes overcast days are bad! Thank you for adding that tip!! Very much appreciated.

MFB III profile image

MFB III 6 years ago from United States

This is a very informative article, that makes one want to run to the mirror and check out all of their body surfaces.

that is a good thing, I have several friends with skin cancer, and lost one a few years ago to a melanoma he never saw in the middle of his back. it can wither and kill very quickly. Thanks for sharing this hub.~~MFB III

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Your welcome MFB II- i am really sorry about your friend. That is where my husband had his melanoma. he now has a pretty sizeable scar where they had to dig it out...but he made it!!

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 6 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

GREAT INFO!!!!! My husband had a small red mark on his arm and it was skin cancer! It was removed and he's doing well! This info you have given can save someones life!!!! Praise God! Much love to you!!!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

We have just learned that some of the standard melanoma info is not correct. It is very important to do the research and find a derma doc that specializes in melanoma once it is diagnosed. Get information and ask questions, don't just ask the derma doc if he is a melanoma specialist. I have just learned that there are melanoma centers where patients can get good information and treatment if they so desire.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 5 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Wow that is good to know RTalloni- thanks for sharing!

Dr.Pastor C- So glad to her he is OK- God is good

juanforall profile image

juanforall 5 years ago from Q.C. MNL

Very helpful, I read the article from start to finish! I'll follow your profile! :)

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