How to Know Which of the 3 Skin Cancer Types You Have

How to Know Which of the 3 Skin Cancer Types You Have

Skin cancer, the abnormal growth of your body’s skin cells, kills more than two people every hour in America.

It’s the most common type of cancer in the world, and can be caused by factors that include a weakened immune system, overexposure to sunlight, exposure to radiation, and a family history of the condition. 

There are three main types of skin cancer, and understanding which one you have can make getting proper treatment easier and increase your survival rate. 

If you’re concerned you may be at risk of skin cancer, or any other skin condition, trust the expert and personalized medical care available from Dr. Javier Zelaya and the team at Skinworks Dermatology, with three New York City locations.

Types of skin cancer

Skin cancer has three main types:

Basal cell carcinoma

This type of cancer often appears in areas exposed to the sun, like your neck or face. It may appear on your skin as a pearly or waxy bump, a flat, flesh-colored, scar-like lesion, or a scabbing sore that heals and comes back.

Squamous cell carcinoma

This cancer also appears on sun-exposed areas of the body, though people with darker skin may see it in areas without ultraviolet exposure. It shows up as either a firm, red nodule or a flat, crusted, or scaly lesion.


This cancer can appear anywhere on your body, affecting either normal skin or a mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma can look like:

Other, rare types of skin cancer include sebaceous gland carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and Kaposi sarcoma. 

Methods of treatment

Treatments for skin cancer depend on the type and its stage of development in your body. Nonsurgical options include: 

Surgical options include excisional surgery, removing the tumor and surrounding healthy skin; Mohs surgery, precise removal of diseased tissue; curettage, a sharp, looped edge for removing cancer cells; and electrodesiccation, an electric needle for destroying cancer cells.

Finding a mole or other skin changes can be scary, but skin cancer is treatable, and we can help. If you think you’re dealing with skin cancer of any sort, call the Skinworks Dermatology office in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope today or book your appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Helping a Child with Eczema

Skin conditions are common. Among children, eczema is a frequent cause of irritation and other symptoms. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat children with eczema, and we can help.

Myths and Facts About MRSA

Staph infections can create minor problems for your skin that are easily treated. But if the bacteria resist treatment, you might have MRSA. Read on to get the facts about this condition.

3 Dangers of Chronically Dry Skin

You may experience dry skin every once in a while, but experiencing it on a regular basis can lead to complications. Learn more about these dangers and how to treat them.

The Link Between Stress and Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an incurable but treatable chronic skin condition that can present with scaly patches, rashes, and itchiness. A big risk factor for psoriasis is stress. Learn more here about the link between stress and psoriasis.

Rosacea Triggers You Should Be Aware Of

Often confused with other skin conditions, rosacea is an incurable but manageable ailment that affects millions. To avoid flare-ups, you need to know what triggers to look for.

Facials Flaws Fillers Can Fix

Cosmetic treatments are all the rage, and injectables are a popular outpatient treatment to give you a younger look. Dermal fillers are a common type of injectable, and they can help with many facial flaws. Read on to find out more.