Skin Cancer Overview

You are your own first line of defense

Most of the spots on your skin – freckles, birthmarks, moles – are normal, but some of the possibility of being cancerous. There are three main types of skin cancer. They can usually be discovered at an early stage, when they are readily curable. If you ever spot these or any other suspicious or changing growths, contact Dr. Parvin Shafa promptly at OC MedDerm in Irvine, Orange County CA.

Skin cancer, Non-melanoma or Melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. Dr. Parvin Shafa at OC MedDerm Irvine, Orange County, CA offers Free Consultation on mole removal or any suspicious moles that may lead to skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most dangerous and lethal form of skin cancer. Melanomas often resemble mole. Melanoma may also develop from moles.Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. By the age of 65, 40 and 50 percent of Americans will have either BCC or SCC at least once.

There are two main classes of skin cancer


  • By far the most common type is BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma)
  • The second most common type of cancer is SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
  • All other types of non-melanoma skin cancer are much less common


  • The most dangerous and deadly skin cancer
  • Even though melanoma accounts for only 4% of all skin cancer cases, it is attributed to 80% of skin cancer related deaths
  • Unfortunately, it occurs at a young age as well.
  • It is the most common type of cancer in ages 25 to 30.

Risk factors for non-Melanoma and Melanoma skin cancers

  • Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Fair complexion.
  • Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium.
  • Family history of melanoma.
  • Multiple or atypical moles.
  • Severe sunburns as a child.

Signs and symptoms of skin cancer

Skin cancer can be detected early and both doctors and patients play important roles in discovering skin cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell Dr. Shafa immediately. Any of the following changes in the skin are suspicious and require attention:

  • A change in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot.
  • A growth that is new or exhibits scaliness, oozing, or bleeding.
  • A change in the appearance of a bump or nodule.
  • A change in sensation, including itchiness, tenderness, or pain.
  • The spread of pigmentation beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.

How can I decrease the chance of cancer and help with early detection of skin cancer?

  • Avoid sun exposure and use sun screen at all times.
  • Patients with atypical moles and a family history of skin cancer should avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen.
  • You must know how to “‘self-exam” your entire skin in order to detect changes in existing moles and skin.
  • You must recognize the features of melanoma (ABCDE) and other types of skin cancer.
  • Yearly, self whole-body color photography of the moles for comparison is highly recommended. It makes it easier to track the development and changes of your moles. This is most useful in patients with many atypical moles.

Who survives skin cancer?

Survival depends on the types and stages of the cancer. For basal cell or squamous cell cancers, a cure is highly likely if detected and treated early. Melanoma, even though it can spread to other body parts quickly, is also highly curable if detected early and treated properly. The five-year relative survival rate for patients with melanoma is 89%

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