for Children and Adults
Sherry Guralnick Cohen
Board Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner

Types of Skin Cancer

Malignant Melanoma

A malignant melanoma is a skin cancer of the pigment cells.  It can arise from a pre-existing mole or from normal skin.  When looking for the warning signs of a malignant melanoma remember the mnemonic ABCDE (Asymmetric, Borders irregular,  Colors are multiple,  Diameter over 6mm, and Evolving) . Check your moles monthly so you will be able to recognize if one changes or a new one appears.  A melanoma can be sun induced, or arise where the sun does not shine.  Examples include: palms, soles, arm pits, genitals, buttox, or bottom of your feet.   You are at higher risk if you have a family history, are fair skinned and burn easily, have multiple moles, or have an extensive history of sun exposure.  Tanning beds have been shown to increase one's risk of melanomas. 

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is considered a pre-cancer found on sun exposed areas like the face, scalp, ears, neck, lower arms and backs of the hands.  It  usually appears as hyperkerotic papule on an erythematous base.  Rarely  actinic keratosss turn into squamous cell carcinomas and painful or growing lesions should be treated.

Basel Cell Carcinoma

Basel Cell Carcinoma is a  type of skin cancer arising in chronic sun damaged skin.  It can look like a pearly gray or pink bump.  It may develop scabs or ulcers and  is found primarily on sun exposed areas. Basel cell carcinomas are very treatable is caught early. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is another  common skin cancer also found on sun exposed areas.  It may appear as a bump or a red scaly patch. Squamous cell carcinomas are very treatable is caught early. 

Preventive Care

Sun protection is important in preventing skin cancers and premature aging.  Use sun screen properly, and other sun protective measures.

Learn More

For more information and pictures go to The Skin Cancer Foundation or the Melanoma Research Foundation.