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Comparing Different Types of Skin Cancer

Aug 8, 2018

Skin cancer can be deadly, but it’s often preventable. Protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) radiation by wearing sunscreen every day, year-round. Dermatologists also recommend doing a monthly self-exam and scheduling a professional skin cancer screening every year. If you notice any abnormal skin issues, see your dermatologist right away—early skin cancer treatment could save your life.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

The type of skin cancer that occurs most frequently is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). BCC can develop anywhere on a person’s body, but is most often found on the arms, neck, and head. People with fair skin tend to be more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma, but it could potentially affect anyone. Individuals who use tanning beds or tan outdoors are more likely to develop BCC earlier in life. BCC develops slowly, and typically has the appearance of a pearly or flesh-colored bump. It can also look like a pinkish patch.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Roughly 700,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are diagnosed in the U.S. on an annual basis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It most often develops on the lower legs, head, neck, and the back of the hands, since these areas tend to be exposed to sunlight most often. However, SCC can form anywhere on the body, including on the lips, ears, genitals, and inside of the mouth. SCC generally looks like:

  • A slow-growing, flat, reddish, scaly patch.
  • A recurrent sore or sore that won’t heal.
  • A rough bump or lump.
  • A dome-shaped, crusty, bleeding bump.


The deadliest type of skin cancer is melanoma. It can spread quickly and cause cancer cell growth in other areas of the body. Diagnosing and treating melanoma early is essential for a favorable outcome. The signs of melanoma include:

  • A new patch or spot.
  • Changes to existing moles.
  • A freckle or age spot that appears to change.
  • A dark streak underneath a nail (finger or toe).
  • A band of darker skin around a nail.

You can schedule an annual skin cancer screening at Arlington Dermatology. Patients can also receive skin cancer treatments at our office in Arlington Heights. Call [company-phone id=1] to speak with a friendly staff member.

doctor examining patient