Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Most often, skin cancers are present in sun-exposed areas such as the head, neck and hands. The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and malignant melanoma. In general, basal cell cancers are the most favorable and malignant melanomas are less favorable. The outlook for a patient is dependent on the type of skin cancer, the depth of the cancer and at what stage it was diagnosed. In general the earlier the diagnosis of skin cancer the more favorable the result will be. If a patient has a history of skin cancer, he or she is more likely to develop other skin cancers. Skin cancers can also be more common if there is a family history and also if there has been a significant history of sun exposure or history of radiation therapy. Certain medications can also increase the risk of skin cancers. Tanning booths can increase the risk of skin cancer as well.
You should be evaluated for skin lesions if you recently noticed them or they have changed. A change in size, shape or color can indicate a possible skin cancer. Some things that cause increased risk are a light complexion, increased number of moles and significant history of sun exposure. If you note any skin lesions that are new, change or bleed, it is best to have them evaluated.