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What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide affecting approximately 1 in 5 Americans by the age of 70. Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells that most often develops on skin exposed to the sun.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and is composed of several layers. The two main layers are the epidermis (upper or outer layer) and the dermis (lower or inner layer). Skin cancer begins in the epidermis, which is made up of three kinds of cells—

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Thin, flat cells that form the top layer of the epidermis.

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Round cells under the squamous cells.

Melanoma Carcinoma: Cells that make melanin and are found in the lower part of the epidermis. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. When skin is exposed to the sun, melanocytes make more pigment and cause the skin to darken.

Squamous Cell and Basal cell carcinomas are the two most common types of skin cancer, which begin in the squamous and basal layers of the skin. Both can usually be cured, but they can be disfiguring. Melanoma Carcinoma, the third most common type of skin cancer, begins in the melanocytes.

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells, altering the DNA. In the short term, this damage can cause a sunburn. Over time, UV damage adds up, altering the DNA and leading to changes in skin texture, premature skin aging, and sometimes skin cancer.

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When Dr. Rahban does a consultation with a prospective patient, he wants it to be two things above all others: thorough and honest. He will find out from you just what you want from cosmetic surgery. And he will tell you honestly if you can get the result you want, and how he can best help you do so.

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