Skin cancer is a highly preventable cancer (in non-hereditary cases), due to a major risk factor being prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. By the age of 70, one in five Americans are predicted to be diagnosed with skin cancer.
There are three types of cells that are usually involved in this disease: basal cells, squamous cells, and melanocytes (or pigment producing cells). The type of skin cell affected by cancer is what classifies the difference between basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and most treatable form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinomas grow slowly and cause minimal damage if detected and treated early. The second most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin may also be termed cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, in order to differentiate from other squamous cell cancers that may occur in the body.
Melanoma of the skin is the mutation, often followed by the rampant division, of the skin’s melanocytes. It is the most serious type of skin cancer due to its tendency to spread to other organs. Surprisingly, as much as 30% of all melanoma cases are a result of factors other* than exposure to the sun or other UV light. The causes of such cases are still unknown to researchers, but some suggest that causes may be hereditary.
Oncotarget’s Special Collection on Skin Cancer & Melanoma is intended to be a tool for researchers and science readers alike to learn more about the current landscape of skin cancer. The creators of these collections are hopeful that this resource may help researchers discover new biomarkers, mechanisms, and therapies that improve our collective quality of life and lead to enhanced treatments for cancer and other diseases.
Papers within this Special Collection relate to various topics on skin cancer research, including a 2018 paper from Australia on the first blood test for early detection of melanoma, a paper by researchers from Columbia University on a combined therapeutic approach that improves anti-tumor antibody therapy in melanoma, and many more.
Click here to read Oncotarget’s Special Collection on Skin Cancer & Melanoma.
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