Types of Skin Cancer

Different types of skin cancer can become evident in different ways, and each one has a very different prognosis and action.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 5,000 cases are diagnosed yearly in Spain, and more than 70,000 non-melanoma cancers. The excellent news is that 99% of patients are curable if spotted and treated early.

What is Skin Cancer?

The skin is the body’s organ that protects us against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. It controls body temperature and stores fat, water, and vitamin D.

The skin has several layers: the epidermis, which is the outermost layer, and the dermis, which is the middle layer. And the hypodermis, the deepest layer.

Skin cancer starts in the epidermis, which is complete up of three types of cells:

Squamous cells: those that form the superficial layer of the epidermis.

Basal cells: located below the squamous cells.

Melanocytes: Cells that produce melanin are in the deep part of the epidermis.

Why do the Different Types of Skin Cancer Occur?

At the cellular level, skin cancer is due to the uncontrolled growth of neoplastic cells in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

Its leading cause is cell damage to DNA (mainly by ultraviolet light) that triggers oncogenic mutations. These changes lead skin cells to multiply rapidly and form different malignant skin tumors.

What Types of Skin Cancer Exist?

What Types of Skin Cancer Exist?

The type of skin cancer each person may have is determined by the cell type in which the cancer begins. Also, In this way, we will see that if cancer starts in the cells of the skin called basal cells, the person will develop basal cell skin cancer (Basal cell carcinoma or Squamous cell carcinoma).

So before talking about each of them, it is vital to be clear about how we classify skin cancer in broad strokes:

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Most skin cancers are due to basal cell carcinoma (basal cell carcinomas) and squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma). Although malignant, they are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body if treated early. And also, The problem is that they can be locally disfiguring if not treated in time.

Melanoma-Type Skin Cancer:

A small but significant number of skin cancers are malignant melanomas. This type of skin cancer can be aggressive and spread to other parts of the body in advanced stages; fortunately, today, most are curable. Although carcinomas are less frequent, we spend more time carrying out prevention campaigns and using advanced monitoring techniques for early diagnosis due to the potential for dissemination.

What Causes Skin Cancer?

The two foremost causes of skin cancer are the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays and the use of tanning booths. Recent research studies have shown that the use of tanning booths during adolescence increases up to 2 times if you have done more than ten sessions in your life.

A woman with photodamage who has freckles on her face and a risk of developing skin cancer

Young woman with significant skin photodamage. Also, This is characterized by the appearance of sun spots (solar lenities) in sun-exposed areas.

In addition to the factors previously described, there are also other risk factors such as:

  • I have more than 50 moles on the entire body or more than 3 moles with atypical features.
  • Genetic factors (that is, mutations in specific genes or family history)
  • History of radiotherapy
  • Certain conditions that suppress the immune system
  • Exposure to high levels of arsenic.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

The good news is that if malignant skin tumors are detected early, the dermatologist can treat them with little or no scarring and a good chance of removing them completely.

The specialist can often detect the neoplasm at a precancerous stage (in situ) and apply minimally invasive treatments or even creams to cure it. That is why you must know the different types of skin cancer to offer you a curative treatment.

  • How can we prevent the symptoms of skin cancer?
  • Avoid sun exposure between 9 am and 4 pm
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA-UVB), with a minimum sun protection factor of 30.
  • Seek shade when practicing activities and traveling outdoors.

Wear appropriate sartorial such as a wide-brimmed hat and a short-sleeved dress that prevents the passage of ultraviolet radiation.

Scrutinize your skin from head to toe. It is essential to do it at least once a month.

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  • hereditary cancer conditions
  • Genetic syndromes that increase sun sensitivity
  • Weakened immune system: organ or stem cell transplant, chemotherapy, or certain medications
  • History of skin cancer
  • Radiotherapy background
  • History of manifold sunburns
  • Family history of growth in a parent or fraternal
  • Medications that make the skin more easily damaged or burned
  • Children with these risk factors should talk to their doctor about having a skin exam and consider seeing a dermatologist.

Types of Skin Cancer

Early detection of melanoma is essential, as this type of skin cancer can quickly spread to any body part. And also, It can even develop on sun-protected skin.

Melanoma can look like a pink bump that grows or bleeds and does not disappear. Also, It can look like a brown mole changing in shape, color, size, or texture (see the image to the right).

Skin Cancer that is Not Melanoma

Immunosuppressed children, that is, those who have their body defines systems weakened by certain diseases, medications, or treatments, are more likely to grow these skin cancers. This may appear like a small sore, but it will last more than eight weeks.

Basal cell carcinoma: Pearly pink bump, scaly patch, or sore that does not heal.

Squamous cell carcinoma: A scaly pink spot, bump, or sore that does not heal.


Skin cancer is rare in children. However, following sun protection practices is the best way to protect children from developing skin cancer later in life. Most children do not even need skin exams by a dermatologist to monitor skin cancer unless they have certain risk factors. Adults, it’s a good idea for adults to get regular skin cancer screenings starting in their 20s.