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Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) (http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/basal-cell-carcinoma) is the most common type of skin cancer. It can appear as a shiny translucent or pearly nodule, a sore that continuously heals and then re-opens, a pink slightly elevated growth, reddish irritated patches of skin, or a waxy scar. Most BCCs appear on skin with a history of exposure to the sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and arms. BCC often grows slowly, but dermatologists encourage early diagnosis and treatment to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/squamous-cell-carcinoma) most often appears as a crusted or scaly area of skin with a red inflamed base that resembles a growing tumor, non-healing ulcer, or crusted-over patch of skin. While most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, it can develop anywhere. SCC may arise from actinic keratoses (AKs), which are dry, scaly lesions that may be skin-colored, reddish-brown or yellowish-black. SCC requires early treatment to prevent spreading.

Melanoma (http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/melanoma) is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma can begin in a mole or appear as a new skin growth on the skin. When examining your skin (http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-check-my-skin/how-to-perform-a-self-exam/how-to-perform-a-self-exam), check your moles or pigmented spots for the ABCDEs: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color varies, and Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolution (http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-check-my-skin/what-to-look-for/what-to-look-for). If you notice a mole that differs from others, or one that changes, bleeds, or itches, see a dermatologist.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
1) What are the doctor's credentials and is he or she board-certified in dermatology?
2) How can my condition be treated and what results can I expect? Are there any risks?
3) How can I reduce my risk of skin cancer?
4) How often should I come back to see you?

You can use the American Academy of Dermatology’s website tool to find a dermatologist. You can search by city, state, zip code and even by area of specialty:http://www.aad.org/findaderm
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
While UV exposure from the sun and tanning beds is the most preventable cause of skin cancer, skin cancers can occur in areas of the body that don't see the sun, such as on the soles of the feet. Many people with melanoma deny excessive sun exposure, but still have the clinical signs of sign damage that would imply they may have forgotten extensive sun exposure as small children or young adults as a result of working or playing outdoors. Also, some people are genetically prone to develop melanoma. There are other risk factors which maybe independent risk factors for melanoma, such as fair skin, aging, a family history of melanoma, immunosuppression or simply having a large number of moles. As a 5-time melanoma survivor, you should see your dermatologist every few months. There are many factors which may have led to your melanoma. Talking to your dermatologist is the best way to understand your particular case.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
Fragrances and preservatives, ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, are the most common cause of allergic reactions. More than 5,000 different fragrances are used in products; however, less "allergenic" fragrances have been developed to minimize the problem.

Preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products are the second most common cause of skin reactions. Preservatives prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria that can cause skin infections, as well as prevent oxygen from spoiling products. Examples of preservatives include paraben, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde. Preservatives must be listed as ingredients on product labels.

If you are unsure about a product or ingredient, apply a small amount to the inside (underside) of your forearm daily for three days. If you have no irritation or itching by the end of 5 days, allergy is unlikely.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
There are many treatments for skin cancer. A dermatologist selects treatment after considering the following: type of skin cancer, where the skin cancer appears on the body, whether the skin cancer is aggressive, stage of the cancer (how deeply the skin cancer has grown and whether it has spread), and patient’s health. The treatment you are asking about is considered chemotherapy applied to the skin. The generic name for the medicine used in this treatment is 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU. The patient applies 5-FU to the actinic keratosis (most common) or less commonly a non-melanoma skin cancer. The molecule is taken into actively dividing cells and metabolized into other chemicals that are toxic to the cells and gum up the pathways that allow DNA replication, sort of like Charlie Chaplin throwing a wrench into the clockworks. When this happens, the cells die. 5-FU is one of the drugs that are commonly used for field therapy of actinic keratosis, squamous cell cancer precursor growths. It is both effective but very irritating so patients are given a variety of options to consider such treatment. For more information, see your dermatologist.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds is the leading cause of skin cancer. If a close blood relative has (or had) skin cancer, a person’s risk of getting skin cancer rises.

However, even if you don’t have a family history of skin cancer, there are a number of other factors that can increase your risk:
• Fair skin, especially when the person also has blond or red hair and blue, green, or gray eyes.
• Had bad sunburns, especially blistering sunburns.
• Skin that burns or freckles rather than tans.
• More than 50 moles.
• Moles called “atypical nevi” or “dysplastic nevi.”
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
Yes, your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, may be increased if you have had other previous cancers, such as breast or thyroid cancer. In addition, having (or having had) any of the following puts a person at greater risk for getting skin cancer:

• Previous skin cancer.
• Organ transplant. The medicine that prevents the body from rejecting the organ also weakens the immune system, which increases the risk of skin cancer.
• Disease that weakens the immune system. Lymphoma and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are a few diseases that weaken the immune system.
• Gorlin’s syndrome (also called basal cell nevus syndrome). People who have this rare disease can get many basal cell carcinomas early in life. They also have a higher risk for getting melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
Dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) are usually larger than a pencil eraser, have an odd shape (not round), and show more than 1 color — mixes of tan, brown, red, and pink. This type of mole can look like melanoma, but it is not melanoma. Such moles usually begin to appear on the skin around age 5. You have a higher risk of getting melanoma if you have 4 or more atypical moles.

Melanoma in situ is Stage 0 melanoma. It is when the melanoma cells are confined to the epidermis (top layer of the skin). This diagnosis means that the patient has melanoma in its earliest and most treatable form. The most common early visual signs of melanoma are:
• A growing mole on your skin.
• An unusual looking mole on your skin that does not look like any of your other moles.
• Non-uniform mole (has an odd shape, uneven or uncertain border, different colors).

Visit SpotSkinCancer.org (http://SpotSkinCancer.org) for great information on how to examine your skin and theABCDEs (http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-check-my-skin/what-to-look-for/what-to-look-for) of melanoma detection.
Top Answer by: DanielSiegelMD (Physician - Dermatology (Verified))
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