Types of Skin Cancer and Sub Categories of Melanoma


There are many types of skin cancer which all have different warning signs and symptoms associated with them. Some are more common than others and easily treatable, but advanced forms can be difficult to treat before they start to spread to other regions of the body. Amongst the various types of skin cancer are the three main groups. They are known as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

This cancer is the most common type, and is the type of skin cancer that 90% of US citizen are diagnosed with. When identified it resembles a small nodule that is red in color, and located on the face, hands, or sometimes the torso. Most dermatologists notice it immediately and are able to effectively treat the cancer. It is still scary to have, despite how easily it can be treated. If left untreated then it can be extremely dangerous.

Those that are prone to basal cell carcinoma are white individuals, or those with lighter skin tones. Sadly those who are prone to sunburn are the individuals that get basal cell carcinoma. This cancer begins at the epidermis and grows at a slow rate over the course of time. This is why individuals that develop basal cell are likely to catch it soon enough to stop it from spreading.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is another type of skin cancer cell that is more aggressive than Basal Cell, but still quite manageable if treated early. Many people that develop squamous cell carcinoma have a higher chance of developing another tumor or cancer. It is very important for patients to be careful with their treatment and do exactly as they are supposed to. Failure to follow recovery plans can lead to a more serious type of skin cancer, or a recurring version of Squamous cell that can be lethal.

Those with fair skin, eyes, and hair, are more likely to get this type of cancer. Those with a history of tanning, specifically indoor tanning, are at a high risk for developing skin cancer of this variety. This means that Caucasians should take every preventative measure possible to guard against Squamous cell carcinoma.

Treatment usually consists of removal of the tumor or cells, and then medications or injections to further treat the condition. Squamous cells are a bit harder to treat than basal cell but it still has a high success rate.


There are a few types of melanoma, but Malignant Melanoma is the one that kills the most people each year in the United States. About 75 to 80% of all skin cancer related deaths are due to Melanoma, which is aggressive and harder to treat. What many people do not realize is that Melanoma can actually occur not only on the skin, but in the eyes and bowels as well. It is extremely important to take measures against skin cancer – because melanoma is a very difficult cancer to try to treat. Radiation, removal of the tumors, or other types of cancer treatments are used to stop the spread of the cancer.

There are a variety of subcategories of melanoma that can be classified differently. These subcategories are rare and very few cases occur each year. The numbers do continue to rise with more individuals getting extended sun exposure. They are listed below with a brief explanation of what they are:

Lentigo Maligna is a type of melanoma that takes years to progress into something more aggressive. It is a slow growing cancer.

Lentigo Maligna Melanoma is a skin cancer that changes from lentigo maligna to something a bit stronger. Some doctors will not consider it to be melanoma, but in general it is classified as such. It is treated as an aggressive melanoma so that proper treatment can be made.

Superficially Spreading Melanoma occurs primarily in men and women over the age of 50. It most commonly presents itself on back sides and legs.

Soft tissue Melanoma is a very rare cancer and little is known about its treatment or how to keep it from coming back.

Amelanotic Melanoma is a type of skin cancer labeled under melanoma, where the skin cells quit producing melanin.

Desmoplastic Melanoma is a very deep and aggressive melanoma that is tough to treat and manage.

Polypoid Melanoma has little known information regarding it, but it is very rare and hard to treat or remove.

Nodular Melanoma is a bleeding type of melanoma. One of the skin cancer signs warns against bleeding moles, and this variety of the cancer is why. Nodular Melanoma is the absolute most aggressive form for melanoma, and will usually result in death.

Mucosal Melanoma occurs in the mucous membranes. While this is something to look for and quite hard to notice at first, it is rare and doesn’t occur as often as you would think. Mucus membranes can be the oral gums or anus, or even genitals.

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma is one that can be found on the palms, under fingernails and toenails, and in other odd places. It seems to occur in African Americans much more often than Caucasians.

Other Information about Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer variations are plentiful. There are small subcategories for the 3 main varieties of the cancer, and each one interacts differently with certain DNA strains. Some individuals may experience a recurring skin cancer again and again, while others may permanently not have it any longer. Treatment is typically the same, except for with Basal Cell Carcinoma. Since it is much easier to treat, basal cell usually only requires light medications and removal of the tumors or cells.

Some rare forms of skin cancer can become particularly aggressive and difficult to treat. It is extremely important to always do routine checkups by checking for symptoms of skin cancer. This will allow you to seek immediate treatment that can lead to a faster recovery.


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