• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 types of skin cancer

April 8, 2019

There's no questions that sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.  Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, says there are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

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"Basal cell is the most common," Dr. Davis says.

She adds that basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasizes, or spreads, to other part of the body, but it does destroy tissue in its path, and should be removed.

"Squamous cell carcinoma is what we think of as the aftermath of precancerous skin lesions called 'actinic keratoses.' Squamous cell carcinoma can spread very quickly and metastasize," Dr. Davis says.

Squamous cell carcinomas, can be cured when caught early. Because this type of cancer can spread, treatment is essential.

"And then, lastly, there is melanoma," Dr. Davis adds.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It also can be cured when caught early, but if it spreads, it can be difficult to treat. Dr. Davis recommends that you have regular skin checks by a health care provider, such as a dermatologist, to monitor your skin for changes. And, of course, wear sunscreen every day.

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