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Understanding the Different Types of Skin Cancer

Understanding the Different Types of Skin Cancer

One out of every five Americans will get a skin cancer diagnosis at some point in their life. This makes skin cancer the most common type of cancer in the country. The positive news is that when it’s caught early, skin cancer is also one of the most treatable types of cancer.

To help you keep an eye out for the signs of this common cancer type, our team at LUX Dermatology developed this guide. When paired with regular skin checks at our offices throughout California and Nevada, it gives you a way to be proactive. That way, you can catch the cancer before it spreads, putting you in the category with a 99% survival rate

The types of skin cancer

Skin cancer can take many different forms, including:

The first three are the most common, so let’s look at each.

Basal cell carcinoma

The most prevalent type of skin cancer in the United States, basal cell carcinoma usually looks like a round growth or bump on your skin that’s flesh-colored, pink, or pearly. You generally develop this type of carcinoma on parts of your skin that get sun.

The cancer forms in the basal cells, the ones at the bottom part of your epidermis (the outermost layer of your skin). Left unchecked, the cancer cells can grow deeper, eventually impacting your bones and nerves. 

Squamous cell carcinoma

This type of skin cancer gets its name from its scaly appearance. It might look like a scaly patch, a firm, red bump, or a lesion that keeps coming back. 

Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma can grow deeper into your body and spread if it’s not caught early.


Most medical professionals agree that melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it can spread rapidly. It often starts out looking like an average mole. But if you notice a new or existing mole is changing, keep an eye on it. 

You can identify melanoma by looking for the ABCDEs:

To catch all of the different types of skin cancer early, it’s important that you check your skin at home regularly. Most experts recommend home checks at least quarterly. That doesn’t have to be your only line of defense, though. 

Pair home checks with comprehensive skin evaluations

Here at LUX Dermatology, our team of skin health specialists can thoroughly check your skin for any of the signs of skin cancer. We can also recommend a skin check schedule for you. If you have a family history of skin cancer or you’ve had suspicious moles removed, we may recommend biannual screenings. If not, we usually recommend annual screenings. 

Our team has extensive experience in all of the different forms skin cancer can take. We can thoroughly evaluate your skin to help you proactively prevent a serious skin cancer diagnosis. 

What’s more, if we do find anything concerning, we offer a variety of diagnostic tools and treatment options. 

If you want to take steps to catch skin cancer before it becomes a serious threat to your health, call one of our offices in California or Nevada, or book a visit online for your skin cancer screening today. 

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