What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer

Most types of skin cancer can be treated with early diagnosis and proper medication and procedures, but sometimes the symptoms are unnoticeable. Here are some of the things you need to know to determine if you have skin cancer.

Skin Cancer

This type of cancer begins in the cells found in the skin should not to be confused with cancer that begins in other parts of the body and affects the skin. Skin cancer can be classified into three types based on the parts of the skin that are affected by the cancer cells; such as, basal cell skin cancers, melanomas, and squamous cell skin cancers.

The most likely trigger of uncontrolled abnormal skin cell growth is the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and even tanning beds. The UV rays damage the skin cells and trigger mutation or gene defects that will result in rapid multiplication of the cells that form tumors.

Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC)

Considered the most common type of skin cancer in the world, it is caused by the damage to the basal cells found right below the skin surface. An individual with BCC will notice bumps on the skin the same color as the flesh on the arms, head, neck, legs, chest, and abdomen. If not treated, the cancer cells can possibly affect the surrounding tissues, nerves, and bones and may cause permanent disfigurement. BCC is further divided into other types of cancer, such as, nodular, superficial, morphoeic, and pigmented.


This type of skin cancer is caused by the damage to the melanocytes that produce the pigment in the skin. Doctors consider this the most serious form of skin cancer and will usually show up as moles or dark spots that often go unnoticed. If you have moles, you should inspect them daily and look out for the ABCs of melanoma.

These are asymmetry (half of the mole looks different), border (the mole is irregularly shaped), colors (the shades of the mole vary), diameter (most are bigger than 6 mm although a few are smaller), and evolving (the mole has a different appearance since you last checked it).

Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC)

The squamous cells develop on the keratinocytes, which are found on the surface of the skin (epidermis), the lining of the respiratory and digestive systems, and the lining of hollow organs. An individual with SCC will notice firm bumps, persistent sores or scaly patches on the face, neck and arms, which are often exposed to the sun. If not treated, it can affect the surrounding tissues, lymph nodes, and spread to other organs.

Other Types of Skin Cancer

The following types of skin cancer make up 1% of skin cancer cases in the world: T cell lymphoma of the skin, Merkel cell carcinoma, sebaceous gland cancer, Bowen’s disease (early non-melanoma skin cancer), and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Early diagnosis is important, so look out for spots, sores, ulcers, lumps, and patches on the skin that have not healed for 4 weeks.