Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. According to research done by the American Cancer Society in 2012, 5.4 million cases of skin cancer were diagnosed among the US population of 3.3 million people. Of the types of skin cancer basal cell and squamous cell are the most common. Although these two are the most common, Invasive Melanoma is responsible for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths, while accounting for roughly 1% of all skin cancer cases. ACS is projecting 96,480 new cases of invasive Melanoma will be diagnosed in the US in 2019. It is most commonly diagnosed in non-Hispanic whites, with an annual incidence rate of 27 (per 100,000), compared to 5 in Hispanics and 1 in blacks and Asians/Pacific Islanders. The incidence rates also vary by age and gender. Women have a higher risk before the age of 50, but by the age 65 the rates in men double those in women, and triple by age 80. This is contributed to the change in occupational and recreational exposure to ultraviolet radiation and earl detection practices.


Early Detection:

One of the best way to detect skin cancer early is to be aware of new or changing skin growths, particularly those that look unusual. Any new lesions, or a progressive change in a lesion’s appearance (size, shape, or color, etc.), should be evaluated promptly by a physician. Below are some things to consider when examining skin growths.

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Avoid skin burns.
  • Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Most Common Types of Skin Cancer:

It is important to know which type of skin cancer you have, as it will affect your treatment options. If you aren’t sure which type of skin cancer you have, ask your doctor so you can get the right information.

Basal and Squamous Cell

These cancers are most often found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, but they also can occur elsewhere. They are very common but are also usually very treatable.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma is less common than some other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread.

Merkel Cell Skin Cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare type of skin cancer. MCC tends to grow quickly and can be hard to treat if it spreads beyond the skin.

Lymphoma of the Skin

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells that are part of the body’s immune system. Rare lymphomas that start in the skin are called skin lymphomas (or cutaneous lymphomas).

Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) develops from the cells that line lymph or blood vessels. It usually appears as purple, red, or brown blotches or tumors on the skin, or on mucosal surfaces such as inside the mouth. But KS can also develop in other parts of the body, such as in the lymph nodes, the lungs, or digestive tract.

How Our Team Treats Skin Cancer

At the Radiation Oncology Services at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is used in the treatment of skin cancer. EBRT is a painless and noninvasive treatment for skin cancer, damaging cancer cells and their ability to multiply. During treatment, high-energy X-rays are delivered to the cancer cells with a linear accelerator (LINAC). Radiation is very damaging to the cancer cells, but is well tolerated by the surrounding normal cells. Also, radiation penetrates only a very short distance into the skin, so that internal organs can be completely spared from its effects.

Patients treated with external beam radiation therapy receive a certain number of daily radiation treatments usually over a period of four to five weeks. Treatments are outpatient and usually take about 15 minutes. Side effects are generally minimal, and most patients return to routine activities immediately after each treatment.

Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC’s Advantage

  • Few to no side effects
  • Noninvasive
  • Outpatient procedure lasting 10-15 minutes daily
  • Minimal to no recovery time
  • Return to your normal activities following treatment

Speak with one of our dedicated Team Members about how we can help today.