It is estimated that one in seven people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Although anyone can get skin cancer. The fact is, everyone is at risk of skin cancer. It's important to recognize with the 3 most common types of skin cancer, and how to prevent them. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Almost all skin cancers -- 95% -- are basal cell and squamous cell cancers. Also called non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early.
Forms Most Of Skin Cancer The Are: Common Three
Usually they start on the face, ears, backs of the hands, and arms of middle-aged or older people with fair skin, although they can occur on other sun-exposed areas.
People who have them usually develop more than one. AKs tend to grow slowly and usually do not cause any symptoms although some might be itchy or sore. They sometimes go away on their own, but they may come back. Some AKs may turn into squamous cell skin cancers. Most AKs do not become cancer, but it can be hard sometimes to tell them apart from true skin cancers, so doctors often recommend treating them. If they are not treated, you and your doctor should check them regularly for changes that might be signs of skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma in situ, also called Bowen disease, is the earliest form of squamous cell skin cancer. Bowen disease appears as reddish patches. Like most other skin cancers and AKs , these patches most often appear in sun-exposed areas.
Bowen disease can also occur in the skin of the anal and genital areas where it is known as erythroplasia of Queyrat or Bowenoid papulosis. This is often related to sexually transmitted infection with human papilloma viruses HPVs , the viruses that can also cause genital warts.
Bowen disease can sometimes progress to an invasive squamous cell skin cancer, so doctors usually recommend treating it. People who have these are also at higher risk for other skin cancers, so close follow-up with a doctor is important. Most skin tumors are benign not cancerous and rarely if ever turn into cancers.
There are many kinds of benign skin tumors, including:. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing. April 1, Last Revised: For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy. Skin cancer begins when cells in the skin start to grow uncontrollably.
Types of skin cells There are 3 main types of cells in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis: These are flat cells in the outer part of the epidermis that are constantly shed as new ones form. These cells are in the lower part of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer. As these cells move up in the epidermis, they get flatter, eventually becoming squamous cells. These cells make the brown pigment called melanin , which gives the skin its tan or brown color.
For most people, when skin is exposed to the sun, melanocytes make more of the pigment, causing the skin to tan or darken. Types of skin cancer Basal cell carcinoma This the most common type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma About 2 out of 10 skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas also called squamous cell cancers. Melanoma These cancers develop from melanocytes, the pigment-making cells of the skin.
Less common types of skin cancer Other types of skin cancer are much less common and are treated differently. Pre-cancerous and pre-invasive skin conditions These conditions may develop into skin cancer or may be very early stages of skin cancer.
Actinic keratosis solar keratosis Actinic keratosis AK , also known as solar keratosis , is a pre-cancerous skin condition caused by too much exposure to the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma in situ Bowen disease Squamous cell carcinoma in situ, also called Bowen disease, is the earliest form of squamous cell skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with about one million new cases estimated in the US each year.
Skin Cancer Foundation A thousand of these cases are fatal due to the cancer spreading from around the nose, ears, eyes and scalp into the brain.
Basal cells form the single deepest layer of the epidermis. Their job is to form the outer protective layer of the skin as they mature and migrate to the surface. Basal cell carcinomas BCC are a malignant tumor that arise in this layer. BCC are usually slow growing and rarely spread internal, but can cause significant local invasion and destruction.
The risk factor include, age over 40 years, family history of BCC, light complexion, and long term frequent sun or tanning bed exposure and diminished immunity. BCC usually appear as a shiny, pearly bump or spot that may ulcerate, bleed or crust up. It can look like a non-healing dermatitis. Sometimes it may seem to heal when in fact the cancer is moving deeper. The second most common form of skin cancer is Squamous cell carcinoma SQCC with over , new cases per year estimate in the United States.
It arises in the Squamous cells that compose most of the upper layer of the skin. Most SQCC are not serious if treated early and properly but 2, will die each year by its spreading to distant organs. The most common type of fatal lung cancer is Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung cells.
Anyone with a substantial history of sun exposure can develop Squamous cell carcinoma but persons with family history, light complexion, tanning booth exposure, or a weak immune system increase the potential for this disease. Also people with allergies, hay fever and other skin diseases are at greater risk. SQCC often appear as a red or pink bump with a tight crust or scale and frequently ulcerate. To reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, one should start a complete sun protection program.
What You Need to Know About the 3 Most Common Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers. There are three major types of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous. There are three main types of skin cancer – melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal This is the most common but least dangerous form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with about one million avoid the sun during peak hours which are am through pm.