Different Skin Cancer Types and Risks

skin cancer typesThere are three different skin cancer types – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Skin cancer can develop when cells grow and multiply without the normal controls that the body exercises. If left untreated cancerous skin cells can spread to the organs and bone tissues.

It is the most common form of cancer in humans with all forms of skin cancer increasing annually worldwide.

Brief details of each skin cancer type :

Basal cell carcinoma

The most common and originates in the lowest layer of the outer skin covering known as the epidermis.

Squamous cell carcinoma

The middle and upper layers of the epidermis consists the squamous cells, you can think of these as a scale like covering of the body and organs. This cancer can occur in many different organs. Apart from the outer covering of the body such as the skin, lips and mouth, it is also found in the throat, bladder, vagina, lungs, prostate and other internal organs.


This is the most severe of the skin cancer types but fortunately less common. The melonoma cells, melanocytes, are responsible for our skin and eye color. They produce the pigment that defines our skin type whatever our racial origin. These cells are located in the lower areas of the epidermis, and in the eyes. This cancer is responsible for around 75% of global skin cancer deaths every year. Urgent treatment is necessary and to date the only cure is the surgical removal of the primary tumor before it becomes more than only 1mm thick.

Those at Risk of Skin Cancer

The risk of any form of skin cancer will vary according to skin color but it should be recognized that no one is immune, however dark skinned they may be. Africans, Asians and Caucasians are all susceptible to a degree.

It is recognized that exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight is the principal cause of most surface skin cancers. Consequently the risk factor is higher where the sun is strongest, those living in the tropics will be more at risk than, for example, Northern Europeans.

As a broad rule people with lighter skin tones with usually blond or red hair are more susceptible than those with darker skin. People who have freckles, burn easily in the sun, or have a large number of moles on their skin will have an increased risk.

Skin cancer can run in families so all relatives should be particularly on guard, and of course special care is needed if you have already suffered from a skin cancer.

Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are more common after the age of forty.

Users of sun tanning machines and booths are exposed to ultra violet radiation that can be damaging if not used with extreme care.

Although the incidence of skin cancer is greater in light skinned Caucasians than dark skinned Africans, no skin color is immune to the disease. All should limit their exposure to direct sunlight and be sure to apply a sunscreen product with a reasonably high filter factor to exposed parts of the body.

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Category: Skin Problems

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  1. nina rhoades says:

    my mom has these places that come up on her arms only, they start ou t like little bumps then they turn into these big places that drain, hurt, and has like black and white hairs coming out of it. what could this be? this started after she got out of the hospital when she had a stent put in

    • Jaks Lloyd says:

      This may be an allergic reaction to drugs she took when being treated for her heart problem. Our advice is to get her to see her heart specialist to start with and take his advice on her next step. The sooner the better.
      Hope she gets over this asap.

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