Skin Cancer

What are the types of skin cancer?

Like all other body tissues, even the skin is made up of cells. The cells are :

  • Melanocytes
  • Basal Cells
  • Squamous Cells

The different Skin Cancer types are named after the cell where cancer develops. Cancer is also called a carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinomas are often grouped with Basal cell carcinomas and referred to as common skin cancers. The various types are

Melanoma:

It is the most serious Skin Cancer. It tends to spread quickly. If proper Skin Cancer treatment is not provided, melanoma can become life-threatening in six weeks. If left untreated, melanoma can spread to other body parts. Melanoma can even appear on skin that has not been exposed to the sun. It has an uneven smudgy outline and is flat. Melanoma can be of more than one color as well. Mostly, it develops within a mole that is already present on the skin. It can also appear as a dark spot on the skin. Early diagnosis is crucial for the treatment of melanoma. Nodule melanoma is a highly risky type of melanoma that should be treated as soon as possible. It looks different from other melanomas and has an even tone. This type of melanoma is known to grow rapidly. Hence the patient should undergo Skin Cancer treatment as soon as possible. Studies have concluded that melanoma can be cured in the earlier stages.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common Skin Cancer type after Basal Cell carcinoma. Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC is not as dangerous as melanoma. But it can spread to other body parts if Cancer Treatment is not provided. It is formed mostly on the skin that is frequently exposed to the sun. The face, neck, arms, ears, and back have a higher chance of developing SCC. Squamous Cell Carcinoma accounts for approximately 20% of the total number of Skin Cancer cases. It is more likely to be seen in immunosuppressed human beings. Mostly, its behavior is like basal cell carcinoma. The only difference is the smaller chance of distant spread. SCC is most likely to develop in people who have light skin. Precancerous skin growth might also lead to the development of SCC. At times, actinic keratoses (AK) can develop on the skin of a person. AK is a dry or scaly spot on the skin. This precancerous skin growth can turn into Squamous Cell Carcinoma. AK is not Skin Cancer. But, if left untreated, an AK can turn into Skin Cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

It is the least dangerous Skin Cancer type. However, it is the most common Skin Cancer type, as well. It grows slowly on the upper torso, neck, and head. It may appear as a dry and scaly area or as a pearl-like lump. It might ulcerate as it grows and appears as a sore that has not healed properly. Basal Cell Carcinoma or BCC is likely to develop in people who have fair skin. People with skin of color might also get this cancer type. BCC develops after years of frequent exposure to the sun. It might also develop due to outdoor tanning. BCC can be formed anywhere on the body. However, they are more common on the arms, head, and neck. Early Skin Cancer diagnosis and proper Cancer Treatment are important in the case of BCC. If allowed, BCC can grow deep and penetrate the nerves and bones. This can lead to a disfigurement of the body.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

It is one of the rare types of Skin Cancer. Researchers have concluded that almost everyone who develops Merkel Cell Carcinoma is more than 50 years old. Though it is rare, Merkel Cell Carcinoma can be aggressive. It is advised to be treated by a certified dermatologist or a radiation oncologist. Patients diagnosed in the earliest stage of MCC are known to have the best outcomes in terms of Cancer Treatment. Other rare Skin Cancer types are sebaceous carcinoma and cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma.