What can skin cancer lead to?

People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for developing of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to a preliminary study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

What is skin cancer caused by?

Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by repeated and unprotected skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, as well as from man-made sources such as tanning beds. UV rays can damage the DNA inside skin cells.

What happens if you let skin cancer go untreated?

If left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, cause disfigurement, and in rare cases, spread to other parts of the body and cause death. Your skin covers your body and protects it from the environment.

Do skin cancer kill you?

A small but significant number of skin cancers are malignant melanomas. Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer that tends to spread to other parts of the body. These cancers may be fatal if not treated early.

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How does skin cancer start off?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn’t heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body.

What are warning signs of skin cancer?

Melanoma signs and symptoms

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles.
  • A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds.
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black.
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns.

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How can you tell if a spot is skin cancer?

See a board-certified dermatologist if you spot anything changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin. New, rapidly growing moles, or moles that itch, bleed, or change color are often early warning signs of melanoma and should be examined by a dermatologist.

Can you have skin cancer for years and not know?

For example, certain types of skin cancer can be diagnosed initially just by visual inspection — though a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. But other cancers can form and grow undetected for 10 years or more, as one study found, making diagnosis and treatment that much more difficult.

Can skin cancer go away by itself?

Melanoma can go away on its own. Melanoma on the skin can spontaneously regress, or begin to, without any treatment. That’s because the body’s immune system is able launch an assault on the disease that’s strong enough to spur its retreat.

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How long can you live with untreated skin cancer?

The overall average 5-year survival rate for all patients with melanoma is 92%. This means 92 of every 100 people diagnosed with melanoma will be alive in 5 years. In the very early stages the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Once melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes the 5-year survival rate is 63%.

How long does it take to die from skin cancer?

It can become life-threatening in as little as six weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Can you feel skin cancer?

Any unusual sore, lump, blemish, marking, or change in the way an area of the skin looks or feels may be a sign of skin cancer or a warning that it might occur. The area might become red, swollen, scaly, crusty or begin oozing or bleeding. It may feel itchy, tender, or painful.

Do you feel sick if you have skin cancer?

You can feel well and still have skin cancer

They don’t feel ill. The only difference they notice is the suspicious-looking spot. That spot doesn’t have to itch, bleed, or feel painful. Although, skin cancer sometimes does.

What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

At what age does skin cancer typically occur?

The risk of melanoma increases as people age. The average age of people when it is diagnosed is 65. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it’s one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).

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