Disease and Drug Information

Types of Skin Cancers

Types of Skin Cancer

If you have skin cancer, knowing which type is important because it will affect your treatment options. Skin cancers often form on skin that has been exposed to the sun, including on your head, face, neck, hands and arms. But skin cancer can occur anywhere.

There are three major types of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. The first two skin cancers are grouped together as nonmelanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer.

Nonmelanoma Cancers

Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer are the two most common types of skin cancer. These cancers usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms; areas that are often exposed to the sun. But skin cancer can occur anywhere.

  • Basal cell skin cancer grows slowly. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. It is most common on the face. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer also occurs on parts of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. But it also may be in places on your body that do not receive any sun exposure. Squamous cell cancer sometimes spreads to lymph nodes and organs inside the body.

If skin cancer spreads from its original place to another part of the body, the new growth has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary growth. It is still called skin cancer.


Melanoma is the most serious type of cancer of the skin and has become more common every year. In the United States, for example, the percentage of people who develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

Click to view some photos that can help you identify whether a mole may be cancerous. These photos are meant as a guide, but it is always best to see a doctor who can give you an exam and perform a biopsy if needed.

Arizona Oncology’s Skin Cancer Treatment Services

Arizona Oncology offers an integrated team-oriented approach to provide you with the best possible care for skin cancer, whether it’s melanoma or another type of skin cancer. We will explain the facts and answer your questions at every step along the way. Our team of dedicated, highly-trained cancer specialists is committed to providing the most thorough and compassionate care to our patients.

We understand that a new diagnosis of skin cancer can be overwhelming. Our team of experts will arrange your consultation quickly so you can get the information you need. We will help you, and your family, make individualized treatment decisions in partnership with our medical team. During this process, you will gain the knowledge and confidence to help manage your cancer and continue with routine activities of daily life.

Arizona Oncology has offices located throughout the state where you will receive state-of-the art skin cancer treatment in a caring and comfortable environment close to home, work, and family.

Visit the National Cancer Institute where this information and more can be found about Skin Cancer or ask your cancer care team questions about your individual situation.

Lo que usted necesita saber sobre el cáncer de la piel.

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