The 3 Main Types Of Skin Cancer And Their Treatment Options

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. Most skin cancers appear on sun-exposed skin, but cancers can occur on skin not exposed to sunlight.

The cancer treatment used depends on the type of skin cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The best chance for a cure and increased survival rates is early detection and treatment.

Read on to learn more about skin cancers and cancer treatment options.

What Are The Different Types Of Skin Cancer?

There are three main types of skin cancer. Each type has a different cause and may require a specific type of treatment.

Basal Cell Cancer: The basal cells make new skin cells when old ones die. This type of cancer most often occurs on sun-exposed skin, so prevention includes limiting your time in the sun or sun protection.

Basal cell cancer is common on the face and neck and looks like a brown, scaly patch or white lump. This type of cancer is common.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This cancer develops on skin overexposed to the sun, and may appear on various areas of the body, including the face and hands. This cancer is more serious than basal cells, as it is more likely to spread.

Once squamous cell cancer spreads, it is more difficult to treat. It is also less common than basal cell cancer.

Melanoma: Melanoma develops when the cells that give skin its color become cancerous. This cancer may develop in an existing mole or as new, unusual growth.

Melanomas develop anywhere on the body, even on skin not exposed to the sun. This is the most serious type of skin cancer.

What Are Skin Cancer Treatment Options?

The good news about skin cancer treatment is that almost all types are curable with early detection and treatment. Each type of cancer has its own treatment options.

Basal Cell Cancer: Treatments for basal cell cancer include removal of cancer using prescription creams or surgery. Other treatments may include tissue scraping and photodynamic therapy.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma include surgery to remove a cancerous growth. If cancer has spread, radiation and chemotherapy are also treatment options.

Melanoma: Because melanoma is the most serious type, cancer treatments include more options.

  • Mohs surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Wide local excision
  • Antiviral drugs

It's important to inspect your skin for suspicious moles or other spots that look odd. Don't put off having suspicious growths inspected by a doctor. Early detection and cancer treatment give you the best chance of a cure.