Skin Cancer (Nonmelanoma)

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and is defined as the abnormal growth of cells in the skin. It is almost always cured when it is found early and treated. If you notice changes in your skin or an abnormal lesion develops, it is important to consult your physician as soon as possible.

Most skin cancers are of the nonmelanoma type which is usually caused by too much sun exposure and by using tanning beds or sunlamps. Skin cancer usually appears as a growth that changes in color, shape, or size. This can be a sore that does not heal or a change in a preexisting mole.

The two main types of nonmelanoma skin cancer that are treated by UF Health Cancer Center at Jacksonville are:

Basal cell carcinoma usually affects areas that get the most sun – the head, neck, back, chest, or shoulders. The nose is the most common site. Signs of basal cell carcinoma can include skin changes such as a firm, pearly bump with tiny blood vessels in a spider-like appearance; red, tender, flat spot that bleeds easily; small, fleshy bump with a smooth, pearly appearance, often with a depressed center; scar-like patch of skin, especially on the face, that is firm to the touch; a bump that itches, bleeds, crusts over, and then repeats the cycle and has not healed in 3 weeks; or change in the size, shape, or color of a wart or mole.

Squamous cell carcinoma usually affects the face, head or neck. Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include any persistent, firm, red bump on sun-exposed skin; patch of skin that feels scaly, bleeds, or develops a crust; a skin growth that looks like a wart; or a sore that does not heal or an area of thickened skin on the lower lip, especially if you smoke or use chewing tobacco or your lips are often exposed to the sun and wind.

The most common treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancers is to numb the skin and cut out the cancer. The procedure is done while the patient is awake. A sample of the growth is then sent to a lab to see if it contains cancer cells, this process is called a biopsy. If it does, then the appropriate treatment is administered to remove all of the cancer. After treatment, you will need regular checkups, because having skin cancer once means you are more likely to get it again.

See Also: Melanoma

Related Services

The UF Health Cancer Center at Jacksonville offers the following services related to melanoma: