By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This is the time of year when many of us become aware of skin lesions including skin cancer. The major reason is that we notice our skin because we are wearing lighter clothes and clothes that reveal more of us like bathing suits.

The most common type of cancer in the United States, skin cancer includes: basal cell carcinoma. Although very treatable, it often recurs. As many as half the patients diagnosed with basal cell cancer will develop a new skin cancer within five years. Squamous cell carcinoma. Representing about 20 percent of skin cancers, these begin in cells just beneath the outermost level of your epidermis. They’re more likely than basal cell cancer to invade fatty tissues just beneath the skin and spread. Melanoma. This represents less than 5 percent of skin cancers, but it causes most skin cancer deaths—more than 8,600 a year. If not found and treated early, it’s much more likely to spread.