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Skin Cancer Easy to Cure with Early Removal

Posted: December 20, 2006

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Between 1 million and 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed each year with basal or squamous cell carcinoma, the most common and easy-to-treat skin cancers.

The first lady had a squamous cell carcinoma excised from her right shin in November.

Melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer, and strikes about 62,000 Americans a year. Of the 10,700 skin-cancer deaths annually, almost 8,000 are due to melanoma. Yet if caught before it has spread, even melanoma is survivable.

Most at risk for all skin cancers are people with fair skin, difficulty tanning, or a history of excessive sun exposure. For melanoma, major risk factors include a relative with the disease and having lots of moles.

Specialists urge all adults to examine their skin regularly for suspicious changes, such as a new growth or change in an old one.