3 Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. There are three different kinds of skin cancer. If detected early, all of these are treatable, and two of them even have a 90 percent or higher treatment success rate.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basil cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that more than 90 percent of skin cancers within the United States are basal cell carcinoma, and that it is easily caught early and has a high rate of successful treatment. It starts in the "basal cell" layer of the skin, which is the top layer, and often first appears as a small bump. Early detection is the key in treating basal cell carcinoma. The American Academy of Dermatology states that if left untreated, it can spread below the skin, where it will damage nerves and bones.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer that most often develops in those with fair skin. It develops in the squamous cells of the skin, which are in the upper layers, and may first appear as a scaly patch of skin or a bump. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sun exposure is the No. 1 cause of squamous cell carcinoma in the skin, and tanning beds multiply the risk. The American Academy of Dermatology states that squamous cell carcinoma is most often found on the face, mouth or edges of the ear. When found and treated early, the success rate for cure is 95 percent.

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma forms in the cells of the skin that produce melanin, which is the pigment that tans the skin. When clumps of these cells form closely together they are called moles--which is why it's important to be aware of all moles on the body and to notice if there are changes in their shape, size and color. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that even though malignant melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it's the most deadly. Melanoma accounts for 75 percent of deaths from skin cancer. If found early, melanoma is treatable by removing it from the skin through surgery. If left untreated, however, it has the chance to spread and travel throughout the body. The American Academy of Dermatology lists sunburn and sun exposure as the greatest risk factor in developing melanoma.