Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, accounting for at least half of all other cancers altogether. More than two million people in the US alone are developing over 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers every year. This constitutes a more than 300(!) percent increase in skin cancer incidence since 1994. Moreover, as skin cancer is strongly linked to sun exposure, globally, a 10 percent decrease in the stratospheric ozone is projected to cause 300,000 additional skin cancers cases every year, and doubling of the number of cases within 15-20 years.

These latest figures confirm that skin cancer, the world’s most common cancer, is truly an epidemic. Furthermore, skin cancers have a high rate of recurrence, and anyone who has had one runs an increased risk of developing another skin cancer, including melanoma. Additionally, people who have had non-melanoma skin cancer have twice the risk of developing other malignancies, such as lung, colon, and breast cancers.

Non-melanoma skin cancer can be classified according to the following major categories:

  1. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. If left untreated, it may grow destructively into surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bone. This is most worrisome around the nose, eyes, and ears.
     
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type. If left untreated it penetrates the epidermal basement membrane and might further metastasize to distant organs.
     
  3. Actinic Keratosis (AK) is the most common pre-cancer condition of all pre cancer types. It is estimated that over 58 million people suffer from AK in the USA alone. Furthermore, people with one actinic keratosis lesion will develop others increasing further the risk of developing skin cancer in these people.

 

Skin Cancer