Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Primarily caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, it can appear anywhere on the body but most often develops on the head, face, or neck. Skin cancer is divided into two main categories: Nonmelanomas and Melanomas.
Nonmelanomas (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) are the less problematic of the two. They develop in either the basal or the squamous cells of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) and rarely spread beyond the localized area where they start.
Melanomas are cancers that begin in the melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment within the skin, turning fair skin tan and protecting the deeper layers from ultraviolet radiation. Malignant melanoma often spreads quickly and can be life threatening if not caught early. However, in the early stages it can nearly always be cured.
Doctors who fail to diagnose malignant melanoma in its early stages can seriously endanger their patients’ chances of survival. These doctors may be held liable for negligence. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about your legal rights.