Major Types of Skin Cancer
Non Melanoma and Malignant Melanoma Types

The different types of skin cancer vary according to the types of cell where the malignant growth develops. There are 2 major forms of skin cancers - Non Melanomas and Melanoma. The non-melanomas have two main types: Basal cell and Squamous cell cancers. Abnormal moles are one of the signs of melanoma.

What are the different types of non-melanoma skin cancer?

The non-melanoma types include . . .

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma - The cancer starts in the basal cells found at the base of the outer layer called the epidermis.

Basal cell is the least serious but the most common among the various types. In fact, majority of cases diagnosed in the United States are Basal Cell Carcinoma. It grows slowly and is locally invasive. It rarely spreads to the rest of the body.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma - The tumor develops in the squamous cells located in the outermost part of the epidermis. It is more serious compared to Basal Cell Carcinoma because it grows very fast.

If you need more information on squamous cell carcinoma, see Squamous Cell Skin Cancer.

3. Merkel Cell Carcinoma

4. Cutaneous T cell lymphoma and

5. Kaposi's Sarcoma

Non-Melanoma types are the most common of skin cancer. They account for 96% of new cases. About 1.3 million new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

They are the less aggressive and deadly types compared to Melanoma. Of the 96% diagnosed cases, 80% are Basal Cell Carcinomas and 16% are Squamous Cell Carcinomas.

Do you know that . . .

If you are a recipient of organ transplant, your risk for Basal Cell Carcinoma is 10 times more and for Squamous Cell Carcinoma is 65 times more than someone who isn't?

What is malignant melanoma skin cancer?

Malignant melanoma begins in the cells called melanocytes. These cells are located between the epidermis -- the upper layer -- and the dermis -- the lower layer. Melanocytes produce melanin.

Melanoma is not common as it only comprises 4% of the total cases being diagnosed. But it is the most serious of the different types of skin cancer. Prevention of melanoma is a must.

Why is prevention of melanoma essential?

It spreads very fast from the skin to your internal organs because its cells can break off and migrate to other areas of the body. Melanoma causes 77% of deaths.

Majority of these pigment-producing cells are found in the epidermis but melanocytes are also located in the other areas of the body.

Thus, it is possible that Melanoma can also start in the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, brain or lymph nodes. But these are rare types.

Now that you know the different types of skin cancer, you might be interested on how to spot the signs for Non-melanoma and Melanoma.

What would you like to read next?

What Causes Skin Cancers

How to Prevent the Different Skin Cancers

Return from Major Types of Skin Cancer to What is Skin Cancer

Return from Different Types of Skin Cancers to Cancer Prevention

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