Get well First Lady
WASHINGTON - First lady Laura Bush had a skin cancer tumor removed from her right shin in early November but decided it was a private matter and did not reveal it publicly.
The White House acknowledged the procedure Monday night after Mrs. Bush was noticed with a bandage below her right knee.
The cancer was a squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, said Susan Whitson, her press secretary.
A squamous cell carcinoma is a tumor that affects the middle layer of the skin. It is more aggressive than basal cell cancer, the most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cell cancer is more likely than basal cell cancer to spread to other locations, so patients need to have lymph nodes in the region near the tumor routinely examined, according to the National Cancer Institute's Web site.
More than 1 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed annually, according to the American Cancer Society, which says that most but not all of these forms of skin cancer are highly curable.
I'm an almost thirteen year survivor of the far less common skin cancer, malignant melanoma which is also kills more people in a year than Squamous cell carcinoma. SCC has over 200,000 cases a year in the US and about 2,500 people die. While invasive cases of MM in the US total over 59,000 a year with 7,700 people dying.
The warning signs of Melanoma are sometimes known as the ABCDs. They are-
These are guidelines, and a MM need not have all the characteristics. I had 4 melanomas diagnosed, one of which greatly surprised my dermatologist because it was raised off the skin which most MM are not.
- Asymmetry – One half does not match the other half.
- Border irregularity – The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
- Color – The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown or black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to the mottled appearance.
- Diameter – While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6mm, you should see a dermatologist
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
What does squamous cell carcinoma look like and where does it appear?Just a friendly PSA from a skin cancer survivor, I'm not dismissing the danger of squamous cell carcinoma. Please take skin care seriously and use sunscreens. It is your life at stake. Good luck to Mrs. Bush and God bless her.
Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear as crusted or scaly patches on the skin with a red, inflamed base, a growing tumor, or a non-healing ulcer. They are generally found in sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, arms, scalp, backs of the hands, and ears. The cancer also can occur on the lips, inside the mouth, on the genitalia, or anywhere on the body. Any lesion, especially those that do not heal, grow, bleed, or change in appearance, should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
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