When most people think about skin cancer, they assume that all skin cancer is created equal. However, there are all sorts of skin cancer types, each with different characteristics and different treatment protocols. Skin cancer can be divided into two categories which can both then be divided into several types of skin cancer. The two categories are melanoma and carcinoma.

Because one in five people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, it is important to understand more about the different skin cancer types. So, get to know more about some of the different forms of melanoma and their treatments. 

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Superficial spreading melanoma is by far the most common form of melanoma around. This form of melanoma constitutes the vast majority of diagnosed cases of melanoma, and is by far the most easily recognizable.

The reason for the name of this cancer is that it occurs on the top or outermost layer of the skin and will spread along the surface of the skin for a long period of time before it penetrates into deeper layers and beyond the skin. Superficial spreading melanoma is characterized by discolored or oddly-shaped moles. 

Often times, the moles will have color variations, from red to tan or even dark brown. Additionally, the borders will not be well-defined and will often appear fuzzy. Superficial spreading melanoma is treated, most often, by the simple surgical removal (excision) of the malignancy (the cancerous tissue). As long as the cancer has not yet penetrated deeper, this is usually all the treatment that is needed. 

Nodular Melanoma

Nodular melanoma, unlike superficial spreading melanoma or other forms of melanoma, is highly aggressive and invasive. It most often manifests itself as a raised bump on the skin. The bump is usually blackish or extremely dark but often starts out pinkish in color. It can also appear tan, red, blue, or be the same color as the rest of your skin. 

Unlike spreading forms of melanoma, nodular melanoma is quick to spread downward through the layers of the skin, making it far more dangerous than other forms. Additionally, because it is not as easily detectable, most people will not know they have it until it has spread. 

Nodular melanoma treatment begins just like the treatment of superficial melanomas, with the excision of the lump found to be cancerous. Often, follow-up treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. These treatments will help to treat cancerous cells deeper than the skin surface so that it does not continue to spread unseen. 

Now that you know more about two of the melanoma skin cancer types, you will better be able to recognize them and seek out treatment if you notice any potential signs of cancer on the surface of your skin. So, keep these facts in mind and head to the dermatologist at the earliest sign of trouble. To learn more, contact a company like Vail Dermatology.