Understanding Different Types of Skin Cancer

Although skin cancer is often mentioned as a single disease, there are actually multiple types. Each type of skin cancer has its own set of symptoms, treatments, and prognoses, so it’s important to talk to your dermatologist for a better understanding of your skin cancer risk. Here is a closer look at the different types of skin cancer.  

Basal Cell Carcinoma 

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and fortunately, it usually grows very slowly. It is most common in fair-skinned people and appears as a flesh-colored or pink bump or patch of skin. It can form anywhere on the body, but it most common on the head, neck, and arms. With early diagnosis, your dermatologist can remove cancer before it affects the underlying nerves and bones.  

Squamous Cell Carcinoma 

Squamous cell carcinomas look like sores or scaly patches of skin that may seem to heal and then reappear. They usually grow on skin that gets the most sun exposure, including the arms, chest, back, and neck, and they also frequently appear on the face. In some cases, squamous cell carcinomas are preceded by precancerous growths called actinic keratoses. Treating the actinic keratoses can prevent squamous cell carcinomas from developing. If you have a squamous cell carcinoma, your dermatologist will need to remove it to prevent it from spreading.  


Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer. Changes in existing moles or the appearance of new moles are often the first signs. It’s important for melanoma to be treated in early stages, since it can quickly spread to other parts of the body. If you notice the symptoms, see your dermatologist right away.  

Merkel Cell Carcinoma 

Merkel cell carcinomas are rare, but they are extremely dangerous. They typically look like bluish or flesh-colored nodules on the face, head, or neck. Like melanoma, this kind of skin cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body.  

Early diagnosis is crucial for skin cancer, so make an appointment at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology if you think you could have any symptoms. To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Salt Lake City, call (801) 266-8841. 

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