What We Treat

Skin Cancer Guide 2022: What is Skin Cancer and How to Diagnose it?

The skin is the body’s biggest organ; it serves as a shield that protects the body from damage, maintains body temperature, and prevents dehydration. Skin cancer develops when skin cells grow and multiply in an unorganized, disorderly manner.

New skin cells usually emerge when skin cells age and die, but if this process fails, fast and uncontrolled growth of skin cells will follow, some of which may be disordered cells.

This group of cells could be noncancerous (benign), which means they don’t spread or hurt you. On the other hand, cancerous cells can move to neighboring tissues or other parts of your body if not discovered and treated early.

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is irregular cell growth that emerges from the skin’s basal cells in the external surface (epidermis), and it’s considered the most common type (which accounts for roughly 66% of all skin cancers).

These cells are most found on sun-exposed skin, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back.

BCC rarely spreads to other cells in the body and grows slowly over months or years. BCCs can develop deeper into the skin, attack nerves, and destroy adjacent tissues if left untreated, making treatment options complicated. Additionally, there might be many BCCs on different body regions simultaneously.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is an uncontrolled increase of cancerous cells that arise from squamous cells in the epidermis (epidermis). It is responsible for nearly 30% of non-melanoma skin cancers.

SCCs are most common in also sun-exposed parts of the body, such as the ears, face, head, neck, and hands, where the skin commonly shows evidence of sunlight damage, such as creases and skin discoloration. However, SCC on the lips and ears has a higher chance of spreading and should be checked by a doctor immediately.

It’s important to note that If SCCs are not diagnosed and treated early enough, they can overgrow and spread quickly.

Bowen disease, also known as squamous cell carcinoma in situ, is a type of skin cancer that starts in the top layer of the skin (epidermis). It appears as a red, scaly spot and, if kept unmanaged, can progress to aggressive squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma in situ is diagnosed and treated similarly to BCC and SCC.

Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts from melanocytes, which are skin cells that create the pigment melanin, giving the skin its color. While being less prevalent than BCC and SCC, Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it is more likely to move to other body areas, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, brain, and bones.

Melanomas look a lot like moles and can sometimes develop from them. They can be found on any part of the body, including those not often exposed to the sun. Melanoma is frequently caused by sunburn, which is triggered by severe, frequent sun exposure.

How to Diagnose Skin Cancer?

It’s good to frequently self-examine your skin so you can spot abnormalities, but a diagnostic skin exam with Novomed dermatologists is always a great idea! While normal self-evaluation has the potential to detect melanoma and other types of skin cancer at early stages, having a certified specialist examine for minor signs you may not notice is always beneficial.

Remember: The earlier skin cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be cured!

Skin Cancer Screening

A skin cancer screening is a visual examination of the skin that you or a medical specialist can perform. The screening looks for unusually colored, shaped, or textured moles, birthmarks, or other abnormalities on the skin. Strange marks could indicate the presence of skin cancer.

Nonetheless, it’s important to mention that the purpose of a skin cancer screening is not to fully diagnose that you have skin cancer but rather to check for indicators and signs of it.

If skin cancer is suspected following a screening, a biopsy will be required to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Certain risk factors can indicate signs of skin cancer, such as:

  • Fair skin
  • Red or blond hair
  • Blue or light-colored eyes
  • A history of sunburns
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Large numbers of moles
  • Skin that easily burns or freckles
  • Work or recreational activities that expose you to the sun regularly


You could develop skin cancer even if you believe you’re at low risk because you use excellent sun protection or have a darker skin tone. Although darker skin does not dry or break out as quickly, UV radiation from the sun can cause inflammation and cellular changes that can cause skin cancer.

Sunscreen indeed protects against UV rays, but many people don’t use the right amount of it or reapply it often and don’t cover sensitive parts like the ears and head.

Skin Cancer Prevention

There are numerous ways and things you can do to protect yourself from skin cancer, and if you pay closer attention, you can detect skin cancer early enough to cure it effectively.

Our board-certified specialists at Novomed recommend wearing protective clothing and hats in the sun and avoiding being outside while the sun’s brightness is at its greatest, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Moreover, apply sunblock with SPF 30 or higher to all exposed parts daily, and repeat the process every hour or two if you’re exposed to the sun.

Take extra precautions with your children’s sunblock, as most UV damage occurs before they reach the age of 18. It’s also crucial to remember that it’s never too late to begin caring for your skin!

Even those who have already developed skin cancer can lower their possible risks by taking preventive actions. This is essential since researchers suggest that individuals with a family or personal background of skin cancer are more likely to get skin cancer in the future.

You can rely on Skin Cancer Specialists at Novomed to take care of you whether you need a skin cancer screening or treatment. We maintain top-quality standards by constantly modifying our approach to incorporate new or improved techniques and methods.

To learn more about our personalized care and what we can do for you, contact us for free or fill out an online form to book an appointment.