Skin cancer is the cancer of the skin and is also known as melanoma. The skin is the body’s largest organ and protects it against sunlight, heat, injury, and infection. It also helps control body temperature and has several layers. The two main layers are the upper or outer layer called the epidermis, and the lower or inner layer called the dermis. The epidermis is made up of three kinds of cells, the squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes that make melanin.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes abnormal cells to develop in the epidermis where cancer starts. When these cells multiply at a faster rate, they form malignant tumors. Skin cancer usually develops on skin exposed to the sun but can also occur in areas not exposed to sunlight. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the three main types of skin cancer. Left untreated, this cancer can spread to other organs and can lead to disfigurement and death due to metastasis.
A skin biopsy is done to check the skin for signs of cancer.
A skin exam is done to identify suspicious moles, growths, and other changes on the skin.