The skin is the largest organ of the body. Not only does it protect us from physical and chemical assaults from the outside world, it is also necessary for heat regulation, sensation, and making vitamin D. Unfortunately, it is the most common place to develop cancer.
Skin cancer is identified when the cells that make up our skin begin to grow and rapidly divide in a disorganized manner. The extra cells can result in a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor, which can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
The main types of skin cancer include:
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
They are named for the type of cells that become cancerous. Melanoma is much less common than the other types of skin cancers, however it’s much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Because of this, deaths from skin cancer are primarily caused by melanoma.
If skin cancer spreads from its original location to another part of the body, the new growth has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary growth. This means it must also be treated as skin cancer.