Cochise Oncology

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How Common is Skin Cancer?

Spending time in the sun feels good, but the ultraviolet (UV) light causes damage to the DNA in your skin cells. Sun exposure helps make skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, if caught early, it is also one of the most treatable types. 

What is Skin Cancer?

Your skin is made up of different types of cells, and different types of skin cancer develop in these cells. Squamous cell carcinoma develops from the outer layers of flattened cells that rise to the surface and shed. Basal cell carcinoma develops in the deeper layer that produces replacement cells for the upper layers. Melanoma, the most potentially dangerous type of skin cancer, forms from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.

Skin Cancer Tucson

How Common is Skin Cancer?

Some people have a higher risk of skin cancer than others, but anyone can develop the condition. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that one in five adults will develop skin cancer

The most common types, basal and squamous cell carcinomas, are usually slow-growing and easy to treat. These and other non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) affect over three million people per year. Melanoma is less common but extremely important to diagnose early to prevent it from spreading. 

What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Skin cancer can look like a wide range of other skin issues, blemishes, moles, and birthmarks. You should keep an eye on any of these spots that change or grow. Signs of skin cancer can include:

  • Pearly, skin-colored, or red bumps
  • Flaky, scaly, or crusty patches
  • Spots that itch or feel irritated
  • Sores that heal and come back or do not heal

Melanoma often develops from new or existing moles. Dermatologists use the ABC rule when examining a mole:

  • A for asymmetrical moles
  • B for moles with uneven or ragged borders
  • C for moles with multiple colors or a mottled appearance
  • D for moles with a diameter of more than 6mm
  • E for evolving or changing moles

A skin cancer screening is a completely non-invasive way to identify potential problems. We recommend yearly skin cancer screenings for everyone age 35 or older. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

Not all unusual-looking skin markings cause problems. If your doctor notices anything concerning, they will take a sample called a biopsy. This sample goes to a pathologist who tests it to determine if it has cancer cells in it. These results will guide your treatment. Caught early, many skin cancers can be removed with a quick, easy procedure. 

How Dangerous is Skin Cancer?

Like many other types of cancer, skin cancer becomes more dangerous the longer it remains untreated. While basal and squamous cell carcinomas rarely spread, they can grow through the deep layers of the skin and cause damage if not treated. Even melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is 99% treatable in its early stages. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about skin cancer? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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