Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. The rate of melanoma has increased over the past 20 years, and now 1 in every 100 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.
For men, the most common place to get melanoma is on the back or chest; for women, it is on the back or leg. Melanoma grows down through the skin into the fat below, and tends to spread aggressively by lymph and blood. It spreads most commonly to the lymph nodes, skin, lungs, brain, spinal cord, and liver, although it can spread anywhere in the body.
Early detection is very important for this type of cancer. If melanoma is caught early, the survival rate is 95-100%. If the cancer has grown down through your skin into the fat below, then the survival rate is only about 40%. Surgical removal of a melanoma typically also involves a portion of the surrounding tissue, and may require skin grafts. Radiation and/or chemotherapy are common treatments.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
About 80% of all skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinomas, which makes them the most common type of skin cancer. The rate of Basal Cell Carcinoma is increasing 3% every year, meaning more and more people are getting this type of cancer.
The most common places to get Basal Cell Carcinoma are on your face, neck and upper back. If treated early, it rarely spreads. However, left untreated it can spread to other areas of skin, or even into the bone. Most often, surgery is required to cut out the growth and some surrounding tissue.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Rates for this type of cancer are increasing by 3.5% every year, meaning that more and more people are getting Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
The most common places to get Squamous Cell Carcinoma are on your face, ears, neck, forearms and the back of your hands. It will sometimes spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Most often, surgery is required to cut out the growth and some surrounding tissue.