Q.  Can you explain the different types of skin cancer?

There are three major types of skin cancer:
  • basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
  • melanoma
BCC, the most common form of skin cancer, and SCC, are easily treated when caught early but can cause extensive damage to the surrounding tissue. SCC occasionally proves fatal if it spreads to the lymph nodes or other organs.

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin - the pigment that gives your skin and hair their color. With early diagnosis and treatment, the chances of recovery are very good. If it is not found early, melanoma can grow deeper into the skin and spread to other parts of the body. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body beyond the skin, it is difficult to treat.


Q.  I know I'm supposed to give myself skin examinations, but what should I look for as signs of possible skin cancer?

When giving yourself a skin examination, you should look for the ABCDEs of melanoma. 


Moles or growths that are Asymmetrical, have an irregular Border, exhibit changes in Color, have a Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser (approximately 6 mm), or have Evolved in size or thickness should be examined by a dermatologist.

To identify the less concerning basal and squamous cell carcinomas, you should report to your doctor any pink spots that persist, recur in the same place over time, or are easily irritated.