Three Types of Skin Cancer

The three most common forms of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma.  These have different characteristics including their size, texture, and color.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States and accounts for more than 80% of all cases treated each year. In the majority of cases the sun’s ultraviolent rays are the primary cause.

What does Basal Cell Carcinoma look like?
Basal Cell Carcinoma can present in many different ways.  It may be a clear or translucent lesion, a red lesion, or a red scaling patch.  Sometimes it may also appear to look like a depressed scar.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Accounting for roughly 10% of all skin cancers in the United States, Squamous Cell Carcinoma generally appears in middle-aged to elderly persons with fair skin  that have been unprotected and exposed to the sun over the course of many years. It is a more dangerous form of skin cancer than basal cell carcinoma in that it can grow more rapidly and can metastasize.

What does Squamous Cell Carcinoma look like?
This type of skin cancer often appears as an enlarging crusty growth that may easily scab or bleed, and may not heal.  It generally occurs in sun exposed areas, especially the scalp, face, arms and legs.

The third form of skin cancer is Melanoma which accounts for roughly 5% of all skin cancers.  Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer. Although there is not one specific known cause of melanoma, risk factors include: having many moles, personal or a family history of melanoma, fair skin with freckles, or a history of numerous sunburns that have blistered.

What Does Melanoma Look Like?
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection to help you determine if you should see a dermatologist at Franklin Dermatology and Surgery Center.

  • A for Asymmetry – One half is different from the other half in texture and color
  • B for Border Irregularity – The edges are notched, uneven or blurred
  • C for Color – The color is uneven. Shades of red, brown, tan, or black may be present
  • D for Diameter – Diameter is greater than 6 millimeters, or the top of a pencil
  • E for Evolving – the growth is changing in size and/or shape

If you, a friend or family member has any one of the above symptoms please do not hesitate in contacting Franklin Dermatology and Surgery Center to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our dermatologists.