The 3 Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancers are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancer). There are three common types.

Basal cell skin cancer

Basal cell skin cancer grows slowly. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that have been in the sun. It is most common on the face, upper trunk and shoulders. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

Squamous cell skin cancer

Squamous cell skin cancer also occurs on parts of the skin that have been in the sun. But it also may be in places that are not in the sun. Squamous cell cancer sometimes spreads to lymph nodes and organs inside the body.

Melanoma

Melanoma begins in melanocytes (pigment cells). Most melanocytes are in the skin. Melanoma can occur on any skin surface. In men, it is often found on the skin on the head, on the neck, or between the shoulders and the hips. In women, it is often found on the skin on the lower legs or arms or between the shoulders and the hips. Melanoma is rare in people with dark skin. When it does develop in people with dark skin, it’s usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.

Click here to learn more about these types of skin cancer.