Skin Cancer

destroying your skin one cell at a time

By Noah Davis and Joshua Smith

the death of skin cells

Mutations are caused by DNA that is damaged and doesn't get repaired. this then leads to the uncontrollable growth of cancer cells.

What causes Skin Cancer?

There are many genetic traits that make people more likely to develop skin cancer. Things like red hair, freckles and living near the equator can all make someone more susceptible to the primary cause of skin cancer, Ultra Violet light.

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

Skin Cancer is detected by a process of examining and assessing a patients skin called a Biopsy. Someone's Primary Care Provider may note that the patient has abnormalities on their skin and will assess those abnormalities using the "ABCDE" system (shown below) to determine if spots on the patient's skin may be related to Skin Cancer.


treatment (clinical staging)

  • Early detection and self monitoring of the skin is the leading way to have a successful treatment plan.
  • depending on the size, color and depth of the mole will determine the course and length of treatment needed
  • skin cancer is classified in six different stages these are determined by the depth of the mole into the epidermis
  1. Stage 1a is 0.75 mm or less
  2. Stage 1b is 0.75–1.5 mm
  3. Stage 2a is 1.5–4.0 mm
  4. Stage 2b is over 4.0 mm or into the fat layer of our skin
  5. Stage 3 is when the cancer is in our lymph nodes
  6. Stage 4 is when the cancer has effected other parts our body, not just the skin
  • Surgical removal of the mole and surrounding tissues is used for Stages 1 - 3
  • chemotherapy is used for stage 4

How common is Skin Cancer?

It is commonly said that "1 in 5" people have some form of Skin Cancer, a recent mass screening for Cancer in Germany actually supports this claim. Of the 360,000 people examined in Holstein Germany, 16,000 people needed to have biopsies. Of those 16,000 people, 3,100 had malignant Skin Cancer.

Work Cited

  • Vogan, Kyle. "Pigmentation and skin-cancer risk." Nature Reviews Genetics 9.7 (2008). Science in Context. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

  • Swetter, Susan M., and Alan C. Geller. "Catch melanoma early: the United States and other nations should follow Germany in routine skin screening." Nature 515.7527 (2014): S117. Science in Context. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

  • Willyard, Cassandra. "Riddle of the rays: spending time in the sun is a major risk factor for melanoma, but the relationship is not as straightforward as it seems." Nature 515.7527 (2014): S112+. Science in Context. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

  • Seaman, Andrew M. "Screening finds skin cancer, but does it save lives?" Reuters Health Medical News26 May 2012. Science in Context. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

  • Wills, Mary. "Skin Cancer Screening. (Case Report)." Physical Therapy Dec. 2002: 1232+. Science in Context. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.


Noah's works cited