The Most Common Types of Skin Cancer

One close-up example of what Basal Cell Cancer often looks like.
There are three main types of skin cancer that everyone should be aware of. They range in level of seriousness with basal cell cancer and squamous cell carcinoma putting patients at less of a risk than melanoma. They are each named for the kind of skin cell that their cancers derive from – basal cells, squamous cells, and melanocytes. Skin cancer will generally appear in the form of a new and unusual or changing spot somewhere on the body. At the first sign of anything that’s deemed curious, it’s best to have it checked out by a skin care medical professional. Below are the most common types of skin cancer explained in a little more detail.

Basal Cell Cancer

Basal cell cancer makes up the most skin cancer cases diagnosed every year. It usually takes on the appearance of an open wound or shiny bump. The color can vary from pink, red, and pearly, and the spots are frequently found on the face, neck, and arms. People with fair skin and significant exposure to ultraviolet rays face a higher likelihood of developing basal cell cancer. Though this kind of skin cancer doesn’t usually spread to other areas of the body, it can begin to infect surrounding bones and tissue if not treated right away.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma tends to grow over the course of a few months and appears in the form of thick, red, scaly patch. They are also known to crust over, bleed, or ulcerate. With the main cause of this cancer again being prolonged exposure to the sun and tanning beds, it typically emerges in spots that see the most light, such as the face, arms, neck, back, chest, and ears. Squamous cell carcinoma can easily spread to other organs and body parts if it’s allowed to go undetected and untreated.


Melanoma is regarded as the most dangerous of all skin cancers, as it is likely to spread unless treated in an early stage. It often looks similar to a mole, but is different in that it generally has these characteristics: an asymmetrical shape, irregular borders, various shades of color, and large diameters. Severe sunburns, fair skin, family history, and many moles are thought to put people at the biggest risk for melanoma.

Knowing the high percentage of people that are identified to have skin cancer, it’s critical that you receive regular medical exams and take preventive measures to avoid developing any one of these types of skin cancer. Dr. Thomas Wright at St. Louis Laser Liposuction Center is qualified to help analyze, diagnose, and treat all skin conditions.