The three most common types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
  • Melanoma.

BCC and SCC arise from skin cells called keratinocytes and are grouped together as non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and arises from the pigment producing melanocytes.



The majority of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. There are some genetic conditions that also predispose to various types of skin cancer.


Skin cancers can begin looking like an ulcer, blemish or new mole on the skin. There are usually no other warning signs and new skin lesions are best examined by your doctor.


The diagnosis of skin cancer is by biopsy, where part of the lesion is removed and sent for examination. For small skin cancers the biopsy may be the entire lesion (excision biopsy).

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