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Malignant tumour of the skin, including some of the most common human cancers. Though recognizable at an early stage, it has a significant death rate. Light-skinned people have the highest risk but can reduce it by limiting exposure to sunlight and to ionizing radiation. The most common types arise in the epidermis (outer skin layer) and have become more frequent with the thinning of the atmosphere's ozone layer. The most serious form is melanoma, which is frequently fatal if not treated early with surgery. Cancers arising from the dermis are rare; the best-known is Kaposi sarcoma.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on skin cancer, visit Britannica.com.
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