What are the Most Common Types of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that make up the skin and skin structures. It often occurs in sun-exposed areas and occurs more commonly in lighter-skinned individuals, but may affect all skin types and ethnicities. Here are some of the most common types of skin cancer and pre-cancers:


Actinic Keratosis:
 Actinic keratosis is a dry, scaly, pink or red spot or patch that generally
occurs in areas that receive significant sun exposure (most often on hands, scalp, face or neck).
 Because actinic keratosis can evolve into squamous cell carcinomas
(or less commonly, basal cell carcinomas), treatment of these lesions is important.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC):
 Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.
 Although BCCs commonly occur in areas that have received significant sun exposure in people with fair skin, they may occur in darker skin types on any part of the body.
 BCCs often look like a pink or flesh-colored “pearly” bump (similar to a pimple that doesn’t resolve) or like a rough, pink patch of skin.
 Early diagnosis and treatment of these lesions is important to prevent further growth and invasion of this cancer into the surrounding tissue, nerve, and bone.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC):
 Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer.
 Although SCCs are more common in people with lighter skin, they can occur in all skin types.
 SCCs often look like a sore that doesn’t heal or re-opens, a firm or warty bump, or a scaly patch.
 Early diagnosis of SCCs is important to prevent further growth, and occasionally, spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.

Melanoma:
 Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) and is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
 Melanoma often appears as a new dark spot on the skin, but may present as changes in size, shape or color of an existing mole.
 Early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma is crucial to prevent further growth and spread to other parts of the body.

If you have noticed a lesion that has one or more of the characteristics outlined above, it should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist. Monthly skin self-examinations and regular examinations by a dermatologist are essential for the early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. At Elevation Dermatology we have extensive experience treating all types of skin cancer and will work with you to develop the best possible treatment plan. 

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