Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma

is the most common cancer in the United States, and is related to sun exposure and UV light. Many times it appears as an itchy reddish spot that frequently bleeds and does not seem to heal. Risk factors include light skin, freckling, a history of sunburns and having had other skin cancers. The location and type of basal cell cancer help determine the optimal treatment for each individual. Prevention is the key, though. The earlier one begins to practice good skin care habits, the lower the risk for developing this and other types of skin cancer.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

is the second most common cancer in the United States, and also is related to sun exposure and UV light. It may appear as a scaly or thick, skin colored bump or horn on the skin's surface. Squamous cell skin cancer has the potential to be more dangerous than basal cell cancer, because it has the ability to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. The risk factors are the same as those for basal cell carcinoma: light skin or eyes, freckling, prior sunburns, and a personal or family history of skin cancer. Additionally, individuals who have undergone organ transplantation are at greater risk. The same methods used to treat basal cell carcinoma are often used in this setting. Again, prevention is important, and it is never too late to begin safe sun habits.


is a deadly form of skin cancer, and the number of cases continue to increase each year. Although light-skinned people are at greatest risk for its development, darker skin is not entirely protective. Because of the myth that darker-skinned people do not get skin cancer, many wait too long to seek an evaluation, and by the time a doctor is seen, the cancer may have already spread. Young women are especially at risk, as melanoma is the number one cancer killer in this population. Other risk factors include having many nevi or moles, a history of sunburns or prior skin cancer. Because treatment options for melanoma are limited, prevention or early detection and removal is the best chance to save lives.

For more information about skin cancer, please visit The Skin Cancer Foundation, or the AAD.

Examples of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Examples of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Examples of Melanoma