Skin Cancers You May Not Now About

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 91,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed this year. Comprehensive Cancer Centers treats patients with melanoma and other forms of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The following list details these cancers, while offering insights to help identify them. If any of these cancers are suspected, contact your physician or a dermatologist for a cancer screening and further testing. If your physician recommends an oncologist, contact Comprehensive Cancers to schedule your appointment today.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma’s (BCC) are the most common type of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC’s are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). They often appear as open sores, red patches, shiny bumps or pink growths. While they do not often spread to other parts of the body, it’s important to speak to your doctor right away if you notice something unusual.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is another common form of skin cancer. SCC is defined by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an uncontrolled growth of cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers (the epidermis). SCC’s also appear on the skin as red patches or open sores, but could also look like warts or may crust and bleed.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC)

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive skin cancer that primarily occurs on sun-exposed skin such as the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk. MCC usually appears as a firm, pink, red, or purple lump on the skin. Typically, these lumps are painless. Because MCC is a fast-growing cancer it can be hard to treat if it spreads to areas beyond the skin.

Kaposi Sarcoma (KS)

Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) develops from cells that line lymph or blood vessels. It can appear on the skin as a darkish/purple-colored tumor (or lesion) or on the inside of the mouth. Although lesions typically do not cause symptoms, they can spread to other parts of the body. KS is caused by the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). Not everyone infected with HHV-8 will get KS. Typically, those most at risk are infected people whose immune systems have been weakened by disease or by drugs given after an organ transplant.

Types of Kaposi Sarcoma

There are a few different types of KS that are named from the populations that they are present in; however, the changes within the KS cells are all very similar. The different types of KS include:

  • Epidemic (AIDS-related) Kaposi sarcoma
  • Classic (Mediterranean) Kaposi sarcoma
  • Endemic (African) Kaposi sarcoma
  • Latrogenic (transplant-related) Kaposi sarcoma
  • Kaposi sarcoma in HIV negative men

Epidemic (AIDS-related) Kaposi sarcoma develops in those who are HIV infected. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. This is the most common type of KS in the United States.

Lymphoma of the Skin

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphocytes – white blood cells that are vitally important in the functioning of the immune system. While lymphoma commonly involves the lymph nodes, it can begin in other lymphoid tissues such as the spleen, bone marrow, and the skin. The two main types of lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphomas that originated only in the skin are called skin lymphoma (or cutaneous lymphoma).

In addition to some of the typical skin cancer treatments such as photodynamic therapies, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies, lymphoma of the skin may also be treated by stem cell transplants, immunotherapy treatments, and clinical trials involving lymphoma vaccines.

Skin Cancer Treatment

If you believe you might have any of the cancers above, it is recommended you contact your primary care physician or dermatologist for a consultation. Should your results of further testing reveal cancer, treatment options are different for different stages of skin cancer, but may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Each treatment option may be used alone or in combination. Comprehensive Cancer Centers strives to provide world-class care for patients with skin cancer and melanoma using the highest standards, newest technologies and latest in clinical research.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Comprehensive Cancer Centers regarding skin cancer screenings or treatment, call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.