Are all types of skin cancer deadly?

About one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Some types are deadlier than others, but any type of cancer should be considered life-threatening. The best possible outcome for skin cancer patients is achievable with early detection and early treatment. Here at MountainView Hospital, we focus on putting our oncology patients first to give them the individualized attention they need.

Types of skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed type. The growth may look like a pink patch on the skin, or it might look like a flesh-colored, pearly or waxy bump. This type of cancer isn’t often fatal, although failure to treat it can lead to the spread of cancer to other tissues.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type, and it’s more often fatal. Detecting and treating this cancer as early as possible is often successful. Squamous cell carcinoma might look like a recurrent sore, a scaly patch or a firm, reddish bump.

The deadliest type of skin cancer is melanoma, which tends to develop suddenly in an existing mole or elsewhere. Since early detection is crucial for long-term survival, everyone should know the following ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetrical appearance
  • Border of the growth is poorly defined
  • Color—multiple shades present
  • Diameter larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving or changing in appearance over time

Statistics for skin cancer
It’s common knowledge that protection from sun exposure is important, but many people still underestimate the serious threat that skin cancer poses. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every single day in the U.S. alone. At any given time, about one million people in the U.S. are living with skin cancer.

Oncology specialists have treated more cases of melanoma in recent years. In fact, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma has doubled from 1982 to 2011.

When melanoma is treated before it can spread, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. Melanomas that spread to nearby areas have a five-year survival rate of 62 percent. If melanoma is allowed to spread well beyond its point of origin, the five-year survival rate is just 18 percent.

MountainView Hospital is committed to healthcare excellence across all of our service lines, including our inpatient Oncology Unit. Our team of cancer specialists in Las Vegas provides superior, patient-focused care within a supportive setting. Call (702) 962-5021 to request a physician referral.