There are three common types of skin cancer, each with its own criteria and signs. These types are determined by which type of cells are present in the lesion.
Three Common Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type in the United States, and it’s very important to protect yourself from developing it by being mindful of environmental factors and practicing sun protection. When caught and treated early, skin cancer can be curable—however, if not treated, skin cancer can be disfiguring or even fatal. Below are the most common types of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and begins in the basal cells. It is most often characterized by sores or pimples that won’t go away and may bleed, scab over, or have a thick crust on top. These sores may get larger and may appear more abnormal than other sores. Basal cell carcinoma is often caused by sun exposure over the years and often affects older individuals (50s or 60s) or those who are younger but tan often. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads throughout the body but should be removed because it can destroy tissue and lead to large defects once the cancer is removed and the tissue is repaired.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and begins in the squamous cells. It is more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma, as it can be more invasive and spread in the body. This means that treatment is essential. It is often characterized by the same features as basal cell carcinomas, such as a non-healing wound or a scaling patch, and is often caused by sun exposure and UV damage.
Melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer and occurs when the cells that produce melanin mutate and multiply. If caught early, melanoma is often curable, but unfortunately, it can be fatal within just a few months. Once it spreads, it can be very difficult to treat.
Melanoma is characterized by lesions (mostly moles) that are typically very dark; they can also present as red, blue, or white in color. Other signs can be asymmetrical moles, have an irregular border, are larger than a quarter-inch in diameter, or moles that change.
It is of the utmost importance to closely monitor any moles, lesions, or other abnormalities on your skin to protect yourself. Regular skin screenings are crucial in early detection and ongoing surveillance against skin cancers such as malignant melanoma.
Why Choose Skin Dermatology?
Double-board certified dermatologist Dr. Alissa Lamoureux is passionate about protecting your skin. She has extensive training and experience to diagnose and treat even your toughest concerns. As a specialist of the skin, she is committed to caring for every component of your skin and doing it exceptionally well. She offers a level of individualized care that other practices simply cannot provide, spending double the time that any other dermatologist would spend with a patient. She develops a relationship with you first, and from there listens carefully to you, making you a part of your own treatment plan.