Video Production by Josh Melendez

Learn about the three main types of skin cancer. Skin cancer occurs when skin cells start growing abnormally, unpredictably, and uncontrollably. Most skin cancers develop on the visible outer layer of the skin, particularly in sun-exposed areas like the head and neck, hands, arms, and legs. Of all the cancers that humans can get, skin cancer is by far the most common and it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer by the age of 70!

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Video Transcript:

There are more skin cancers than all the other cancers combined, and this is a very serious topic. And we’re going to be talking about the big three’s of skin cancer. Now there are others that you can get, but we’re mostly gonna be focusing on this video and on the website on the big three.

Number one is basal cell cancers. By far, those are the most common cancer known to man. In fact, there’s more basal cell cancers than all the other cancers combined. And it’s actually a good thing because they are the least malignant of all of the cancers. So they have the least chance of spreading internally or metastasizing and killing you. Now in America there are over four million basal cell cancers diagnosed every year. And out of those four million, about three thousand die every year from their basal cell cancers. We don’t want that to be you. So, please take the recommendations seriously for your basal cell cancers.

Now the second most common type of skin cancers are squamous cell cancers. And they are a little bit more dangerous than basal cell cancers, because they have a little bit increased risk of spreading internally and killing you. So in America, there are over one million squamous cell cancers diagnosed every year, and out of that one million, approximately 15,000 people will die from their squamous cell cancers. But we’re gonna make sure that that is not you.

Now the third category of skin cancers are the melanoma skin cancers. The basal cells and the squamous cells, we kind of categorize those as the non-melanoma skin cancers, because while they are very different cancers, and while one cancer does not turn into the next, we kind of treat the basal cells and the squamous cell cancers relatively the same. So they’re categorized as non-melanoma skin cancers. And then there’s the other category of the melanoma skin cancers. Now melanoma skin cancers are very bad, and they’re very deadly. And in America there are over a hundred and seventy-five thousand melanomas diagnosed every year. And of those 175,000, over nine thousand of those diagnosed with melanoma die every year.

So it is a very dangerous cancer when it develops depth into the body. So when it’s just on the surface of the skin, those are relatively easy to take care of, and have a relatively low chance of spreading internally and killing you. But once it spreads past the very top portion of your skin, and starts having depth into your skin, that’s when these can be deadly.

So, please look at all the other videos and resources on this website, and perhaps the two most important, are the prevention video, as well as the navigation bar tab of “Be Involved!” In that tab you’re gonna find useful information so that when you’re doing your monthly full body skin exams, you can highlight and document the lesions that you are concerned are growing, changing, or just not healing. If we can be partners in this, chances are, you are not going to suffer any of the serious consequences from any of your skin cancers.

As always, thank you for allowing us to help you become comfortable in your skin.

About the author

Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and a Dermatology Residency Director at Rocky Vista University and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado