Identifying the Differences Between the Three Main Types of Skin Cancer

  • Posted on: Dec 15 2023
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Skin cancerSkin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, which is frequently caused by UV radiation exposure. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the three main types. While melanoma is well-known, basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent form of skin cancer, making up eight out of every ten cases.

Identifying signs of skin cancer is vital to ensuring it is caught and treated as soon as possible. Learn more about each type of skin cancer and their differences.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

As previously stated, basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It most commonly develops in areas often exposed to the sun, such as the neck and face. They are usually noticeable as they typically appear like a lesion or sore. Identifying features of basal cell carcinoma include:

  • A blue, black, or white lesion that appears shiny or waxy
  • A scaly area of skin with raised edges
  • A translucent bump that may bleed or scab

As it develops, the affected area may become itchy or painful and continue to grow.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the middle and outer layers of the skin. It is most often caused by UV radiation and appears in areas most often exposed to the sun. However, those with darker skin tones are more likely to develop it in less visible areas.

This form of cancer appears in the following ways:

  • A skin-colored nodule
  • A flat, scaly sore
  • A rough patch on the lip or in the mouth
  • A raised sore near the genitalia


Melanoma can be the most difficult form of skin cancer to identify since many people mistake the growths for moles. Melanoma can appear as an entirely new growth or a change in an existing mole. They tend to be larger than ¼ of an inch, are brown or black, and have an odd, asymmetrical shape.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about the various types of skin cancer, the American Society of Mohs Surgery provides dermatologist education for skin cancer treatment in Peachtree Corners, GA. Contact our team today at 714-379-6262.

Posted in: Skin Cancer

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