WHAT IS SKIN CANCER?

 

 We know that cancer is a groups of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth, so when speaking of various types, often we refer to the organ the cancer originates from. 


Our skin is our LARGEST organ, and when discussing any cancers here, its important to appreciate the complexities of this organ. Variations of skin cancers occur in location, appearance, behavior, and severity...one skin cancer is not equal to another, and shouldn't be thought of as such. 

An easy comparison would be describing someone as being "American", without acknowledging all the different cultures and countries that reside in North and South America. Are we talking American as an apple pie,  or American as an empanada? 

Too delve into skin cancer types, we will need to learn where in the skin they are located, which should be easy enough, as they are named after the cells they form in. The four types we'll touch on  range from being extremely common to extremely rare. Respectively:


Basal Cell Carcinomas

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Melanoma 

Merckel Cell

**note on Melanoma, not all subtypes are considered cutaneous (of the skin), but we will be including them when discussing Melanoma.**

Once any of these cancers start spreading outside their cell layer, (metastasizing) they are still considered skin cancers...even melanoma that starts as a tiny freckle on the tip of the toe can spread to the brain, and it would not be considered as brain cancer. 

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