Skin Cancer Q&A

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is from abnormal skin cell growth. It affects people of all skin colors and types. Your risk of developing skin cancer increases with age and sun exposure. When caught early, however, skin cancer is highly treatable.

What are the different types of skin cancer?

Various types of skin cancer can develop. Examples include:

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and often occurs in areas of your skin exposed to the sun. It can develop on your arms, head, or neck, and might invade surrounding tissues if left untreated.

Basal cell carcinoma might appear as a flat, brown or flesh-colored scar-like lesion, a waxy or pearly bump, or a scabbed or bleeding sore that comes and goes.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer and often appears on your face, neck, ears, arms, or hands. It might look like a firm red bump, a sore that comes and goes, or scaly, crusty patches of skin. Early detection and treatment can prevent squamous cell carcinoma from spreading.


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can develop anywhere on your body, including your face, trunk, and legs. It even occurs in areas of skin not usually exposed to the sun.

Melanomas can appear as brown spots with darker dots, dark moles, moles that bleed or are painful, moles with irregular borders, or moles that change their shape, size, or color. Early detection and treatment are crucial.

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis consists of precancerous growths that look like dry, scaly skin patches. It usually develops on your hands, forearms, head, or neck. Actinic keratosis can progress into squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

Anybody can develop skin cancer, but certain factors increase your risk. Examples include excessive sun exposure, having fair skin, a history of sunburns, having a lot of moles, a family history of skin cancer, radiation exposure, and a weak immune system.

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

At Tri-State Specialists, your practitioner reviews your medical history and completes a thorough skin evaluation. They remove suspicious-looking tissue and send it to a lab for analysis to determine if you have skin cancer.

What is the treatment for skin cancer?

After establishing the type of skin cancer you have and its severity, your doctor creates a personalized skin cancer treatment plan. They might recommend one of the following methods to fully remove the cancer.

  • Surgical removal of abnormal tissue
  • Freezing
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Laser treatment

Biological therapy helps kill cancer cells using the body’s immune system. Your doctor might suggest more than one skin cancer treatment to ensure all the cancer is gone.

Don’t let easily treatable skin cancer progress and become serious or even deadly. Schedule a skin exam with Tri-State Specialists over the phone or online today.