Skin Cancer

Back To Cancer Information

The best defense against any type of skin cancer is finding and treating it early. When squamous or basal cell skin cancers are found early, there is nearly a 100 percent chance for cure while for melanoma, there is nearly a 97 percent chance.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are several different types of skin cancer. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell, usually referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers.

Basal cell accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancers in the U.S. It is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell is much less common than basal cell and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

A third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is the most serious of all skin cancer types because it is more likely than non-melanoma skin cancers to invade healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Melanomas usually occur on or around existing moles.

At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, we recognize that no two skin cancers are alike. Therefore, our multidisciplinary team of experts works together to tailor treatment plans to the individual needs of each patient.

Learn More About Skin Cancer

Cancer risk factors include exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as certain behaviors. They also include things people cannot control, like age and family history.

View skin cancer risk factors 

Blood tests, imaging exams and even surgical procedures are used to check for cancer.

Learn more about skin cancer screenings 

Physical symptoms of skin cancer vary from person to person and may include:

  • Change on the skin, such as a new spot or one that changes in size, shape or color
  • Sore that doesn’t heal
  • Spot or sore that changes in sensation, itchiness, tenderness or pain
  • Small, smooth, shiny, pale or waxy lump
  • Firm red lump that may bleed or develops a crust
  • Flat, red spot that is rough, dry or scaly

Many of these symptoms are not always warning signs for cancer, but if you notice one or more of them for more than two weeks, see your doctor.