Do you know how many main types of skin cancer there are?

There are three main types of skin cancer:  basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. In the majority of cases, these are sun-induced skin cancers however they can also arise in non sun-exposed areas of the body.  It is helpful to be aware of all three types.

The classic basal cell carcinoma looks like a pearly papule (small bump); however it can also look like a dry, red, scaly patch of skin that does not heal.  There are also variations in these appearances.  A squamous cell carcinoma usually looks red and scaly, but can also ulcerate and bleed.  Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are frequently found on the face, neck, arms, back and chest, but can occur on the legs and abdomen as well. They are even found inside of and behind the ears.  They are usually painless and usually do not itch. The most serious type of skin cancer is the malignant melanoma as it can spread throughout the entire body. These cancers can arise in an existing mole or can newly develop on normal skin.  Any irregularly dark skin growth should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Occasionally, a melanoma can be skin-colored as well.

In conclusion, any growth on the skin that appears unusual in any way should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

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