Three Major Types of Skin Cancer: Basal Cell, Squamous Cell, & Melanoma

Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that affects millions of people each year and can affect anyone. It is an abnormal growth of skin cells that can result in various forms of the disease. Those with fair skin are more likely to sustain sun damage that can cause or eventually lead to skin cancer. It is important to know what kind of skin cancer you have to determine treatment options and prognosis.

Skin cancers usually start with a change to the skin. This may be a growth or a lesion that may not begin as cancer but can become cancerous over time. Almost half of people with fair skin who are over the age of 65 will have a skin cancer at some point in their life. Many individuals may have a precancerous lesion, which is a precursor to skin cancer. If found early, skin cancer can be removed, treated and cured. Learn the warning signs and symptoms of skin cancer.

The major forms of skin cancers include:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It is slow-growing and is extremely rare to spread or travel in the bloodstream. Instead, it infiltrates the skin's tissue, destroying everything in its path. Basal cell carcinoma can to be surgically removed to prevent further damage. Prompt treatment should occur if this type of cancer is suspected, as it can be treated more easily early. Basal cell carcinoma is usually found on areas of the body that are often exposed to the sun.

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell cancer typically results from sun damage, and is often found in patients with suppressed immune systems. This is an aggressive form of cancer that can destroy the tissue surrounding the tumor. The tumor may become invasive, spreading to various organs and the lymph nodes. For these reasons, it is crucial to treat this form of cancer with urgency.

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This type of skin cancer occurs in the cells of the skin that produce pigment. The growths occur when damaged skin cells trigger mutations, leading to skin cells multiplying rapidly into malignant tumors. If recognized early, Melanoma can be treated with high success and survival. This cancer may be triggered by sunburn, especially in people who have a family history of the disease.

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