Skin Cancer Types

melanomaThere are different types of skin cancer based on the types of skin cells involved:

Actinic Keratosis

Also known as solar keratosis, actinic keratosis (AK) is a rough, scaly patch on your skin due to years of sun exposure. Typically appearing in older adults, actinic keratosis usually takes years to develop and is considered to be precancerous because untreated it can advance to squamous cell carcinoma. It’s most commonly found on areas of skin typically exposed to the sun – face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer. They are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the skin’s deepest layer. BCC often look like open sores, red patches, shiny bumps or scars. Basal cell carcinoma occurs most often on areas of the skin that are overly exposed to the sun. BCC can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow, but are typically not subject to spreading beyond their site of origin.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) is a rare form of skin cancer. It most often develops over many years and is caused by T-Cells in the skin growing in an uncontrolled way. There are a wide range of symptoms including rash-like patches in the earliest stages and then lumps and swollen lymph nodes evolve later. The causes of CTCL are unknown and like other cancers, it is not infectious.


Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin, the exact cause is not clear, but mutations are triggered that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Limiting your exposure to UV radiation can help reduce your risk of melanoma.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. They are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers. SCC usually looks like scaly patches, open sores, or elevated growths. Untreated, SCC can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications or even death.