Skin Cancer Overview
With more than 3.5 million people diagnosed each year, skin cancers are among the most common types of cancer. Out of all skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma are particularly common and are caused in large part by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light which includes sun exposure or indoor tanning. Other less common types of skin cancer include cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and Merkel cell carcinoma. All of these types of skin cancer are treated at UVA Cancer Center.
Spotlight on Melanoma
UVA Cancer Center is a world leader in the development and testing of innovative treatment modalities for melanoma, including vaccines for treatment and prevention of recurrence of the disease. Our work in this area represents one part of a comprehensive program of FDA-approved and experimental treatments for melanoma.
Patients can participate in clinical trials of these vaccines and other promising therapies through the Human Immune Therapy Center (HITC) at UVA Cancer Center. HITC studies how the body’s immune system can be used to kill cancer. It also provides national leadership in testing new therapies and bringing them into practice.
Prevention & Screening
Skin cancer, if detected early, is treatable in most cases. UVA Cancer Center oncologists specializing in skin cancer work closely with the Department of Dermatology faculty to provide expert care in skin cancer screening and treatment. The UVA Cancer Center also offers screening programs open to the public throughout the year that allow adults of all ages to be checked for signs of skin cancer. Getting screened often is the most effective way to stay ahead of skin cancer, especially if you do develop it.
Skin cancer is highly preventable. Experts at the UVA Cancer Center recommend taking the following measures of prevention:
- The best protection is a building – stay inside during the peak sunlight hours.
- Wear protective clothing including long pants, long sleeves and a wide-brim hat. Clothing with SPF protection is available and a rating of at least 30-50 offers the most effective coverage.
- Wear sunscreen and protection for your eyes when in the sun.
- Avoid tanning beds.
The Facts About Skin Cancer
A little sun is good for you – sunlight triggers your body to produce the essential nutrient vitamin D. But you only need a few minutes of sun per day to make the necessary vitamin D, which isn’t enough time to tan or burn your skin. Suntans are your body’s way of protecting itself from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight that cause most skin cancers.
Risks & Treatments
Who is at Risk?
Everyone is at risk. More than one million people will be diagnosed this year with skin cancer, making it the most common form of cancer. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is melanoma, which makes up about 4 percent of skin cancer cases but causes about 79 percent of skin cancer deaths.
How is Skin Cancer Treated?
UVA Cancer Center offers a variety of immunotherapy, which you cannot find at other cancer centers in this region., including , , , , and