Skin Cancer

What is skin cancer?

  • There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma.
  • Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis; it is very common. The majority of basal cell carcinomas are very slow-growing and rarely spread to other parts of the body.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer of the keratinocyte cells in the outer layer of the skin. Usually, squamous cell carcinomas are slow-growing. Squamous cell cancers usually develop in areas that have been damaged by exposure to the sun.
  • Malignant melanoma is a less common type of cancer. Melanoma behaves differently to basal cells and squamous cell cancers. It can grow much quicker.


Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma

  • Basal cell cancers may be smooth and pearly
  • Waxy appearance
  • Appear as a firm, red lump
  • Occasional bleeding
  • Develop a crust or scab
  • Begin to heal but never completely heal
  • Develop into a painless ulcer


Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma

  • Squamous cell cancers may look scaly
  • Have a hard, crusty cap
  • Raised skin in the area of the cancer
  • Tender to touch
  • Occasional bleeding


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