What it is?• Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
• Skin cancer develops in people of all colors, from the palest to the darkest. However, skin cancer is most likely to occur in those who have fair skin, light-colored eyes, blonde or red hair, a tendency to burn or freckle when exposed to the sun, and a history of sun exposure.
Important facts.• There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (the nonmelanoma skin cancers), and melanoma.• Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in humans.• The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal.
• Skin cancers develop most commonly on sun-exposed skin including the backs of the hands and arms, upper trunk, face, nose, lips, ears, lower legs, and the hairless scalp. Skin cancers are most common in people with lighter skin tones. There are three common skin cancers -- basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Actinic keratoses are referred to as "pre- cancers."