Skin cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells and, in most cases, is highly treatable when it’s caught early. There are multiple types of skin cancer, with each varying in presentation. Different forms of skin cancer can also vary in severity, with melanoma considered the deadliest type of cancer. With these facts in mind, knowing the signs and characteristics of the different forms of skin cancer can be helpful in identifying potentially harmful lesions. 

The main types of skin cancer include:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It typically develops on areas of the body that are often exposed to the sun, including the head, neck, and arms. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a pearly bump, a pink patch of skin, a flesh-colored growth, or a sore that repeatedly bleeds and scabs without healing. 

When basal cell carcinoma is detected early, it can be cured by removing all of the cancerous tissue. Left untreated, however, it can grow deep into the body, potentially reaching nerves and bones. 

Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is also common, typically not life-threatening, and usually develops on areas of the body that get regular sun exposure. Squamous cell carcinoma may present as a firm and red nodule, a scaly patch of skin, or a sore that frequently heals and reopens.  

Again, like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma can be cured when it’s detected early. Left alone, on the other hand, this type of cancer can spread deep into the skin, leading to damage and even disfigurement. 


As aforementioned, melanoma is considered the most deadly form of cancer. This is because it can more rapidly spread from the skin to other organs in the body,  making early detection of melanoma crucial. 

Melanomas may appear as a new, abnormal spot or as changes to an existing mole. Many people refer to the “ABCDEs” of melanoma to identify this form of skin cancer:

  • A is for asymmetry
  • B is for the border (melanomas often have poorly defined or irregular borders)
  • C is for color (melanomas often have multiple colors, including brown, black, tan, white, red, and blue)
  • D is for diameter (melanoma are typically larger than 6 mm)
  • E is for evolving (melanomas often change in shape, size, or color)

For a comprehensive skin cancer screening or skin cancer treatment, schedule an appointment at The Bowman Institute today.