What are the most common skin cancer diagnoses and tumors?
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It is so common that one in five people develop skin cancer by age 70. In fact, just five or more sunburns during childhood and adolescence increases your risk of skin cancer by at least 68%.
|Percent of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses in U.S. in 2022
|Neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin
|Hemangioma of skin and subcutaneous tissue
|Neoplasm of unspecified behavior of bone, soft tissue, and skin
|Basal cell carcinoma of skin of other parts of face
|Other benign neoplasm of skin of trunk
|Basal cell carcinoma of skin of other part of trunk
|Other benign neoplasm of skin, unspecified
|Basal cell carcinoma of skin of nose
|Malignant melanoma of skin, unspecified
|Squamous cell carcinoma of skin of other parts of face
|Squamous cell carcinoma of skin of scalp and neck
|Benign lipomatous neoplasm of skin and subcutaneous tissue of trunk
|Basal cell carcinoma of skin of scalp and neck
|Other benign neoplasm of skin of right lower limb, including hip
|Other benign neoplasm of skin of left lower limb, including hip
What are the most common skin cancer diagnoses?
The most common type of skin cancer diagnosis in 2022 was neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin (ICD-10 code D485). A neoplasm is an abnormal tissue mass that is either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Neoplasm of uncertain behaviors is the term documented when a pathologist is unable to diagnose the mass as benign or malignant. This diagnosis tops the list as a pathologist may not be able to identify whether a skin mass is or has the potential to become cancerous from one biopsy.
The second most common type of diagnosis in 2022 was hemangioma of skin and subcutaneous tissue (ICD-10 code D1801). A hemangioma is a benign growth of excess blood vessels in the skin. Though it is considered a tumor, it is non-cancerous.
In third is neoplasm of unspecified behavior of bone, soft tissue, and skin (ICD-10 code D492). This is the documented term used when the provider requires a pathology report prior to making a final diagnosis of a skin mass.
What are the different types of skin cancer?
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma forms in the skin’s basal cells and often results in a bump or lesion outside of the epidermis, or the outside skin layer. Basal cell carcinoma is both the most common cancer overall and the most common skin cancer. It is also the most common specified diagnosis in the list of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses above, appearing three times.
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the epidermis from an overproduction of the skin’s squamous cells. Less common than basal cell carcinoma, this type of skin cancer appears twice in our list of the 15 most common types of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses.
Both basal and squamous cell carcinomas are typically treated by removing the cancer and affected areas from the skin.
Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, originates from melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin which gives skin color. Melanoma is typically treated with surgery to remove the cancer and some of the surrounding healthy skin. Since melanoma poses a higher risk for death, early detection is critical for patients with this type of skin cancer. Though melanoma only accounts for 1% of skin cancers, malignant melanoma of skin, unspecified does appear in the top 15 most common skin cancer and tumor diagnoses.
What causes skin cancer?
Skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Though it is most commonly caused by sun exposure, skin cancer can also occur in areas that are not typically exposed to UV rays.
Who treats skin cancer?
A skin cancer care team may be composed of many different healthcare providers, including but not limited to, a dermatologist, a surgical, medical, or radiation oncologist, an oncology nurse, and a pathologist.
An oncologist diagnoses and treats patients with cancer. Surgical oncologists treat cancer with surgery, medical oncologists treat cancer with medicine, and radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation. Oncology nurses often work with the team of physicians to care for the patient.
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