About Skin Cancer

About Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer has two subtypes, squamous or basal cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma appears as a red, scaling patch that scabs in sun-exposed areas. They can occur on the face, ears, chest, arms, legs, and back. They look like scabs that don’t heal. Some are covered with a hard white scale resembling a wart.

Basal cell carcinoma appears as bumps often in sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, or neck. The bump(s) may appear as a:

  • pearly white, skin-colored, or pink bump or patch with tiny blood vessels visible
  • brown, black, or blue patch or lesion with dark spots with a slightly raised, translucent border
  • flat, scaly, reddish patch with a raised edge (usually on the back or chest)
  • white, waxy, scar-like lesion without a clearly defined border.

You should make sure to get any suspicious lesions checked by a dermatologist.

About Melanoma Skin Cancer

If you have a light skin tone, you are at risk for melanoma skin cancer. You should check or be checked for melanoma regularly. This is the most deadly kind of skin cancer, but it is completely curable when caught early.

Melanoma appears as changes in dark spots or moles. The spot or mole becomes asymetrical, meaning one half of the spot is not the mirror image of the other half. The borders of the spot are not distinct. The spot may be more than one color such as black, white, red, or yellow in addition to brown. The spot may be greater than or equal to a quarter of an inch. If you suspect a spot or mole to have any one of these characteristics, you should have it checked by a dermatologist right away. If you have a personal or family history of melanoma, you should be checked every six months by a dermatologist.

For more information and other resources check out the Skin Cancer Foundation.