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  • James Murray, DNP

Are All Skin Cancers Created Equal?


Skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body including skin that is not exposed to sun light. Although it is rare to find skin cancer in the mouth, under fingernails, or genitals, the only way to know for sure is to attend yearly skin checks with a dermatologist. A typical skin check will last 15-30 minutes. During this time, your provider will look you over head to toe. If a mole or skin lesion looks suspicious, a biopsy can be done to rule out anything malignant or abnormal.

Types of skin cancers:

Actinic Keratoses (AK) are precancerous lesions that present themselves as crusty/scaly, red, pink, or tan. These are easily treated with liquid nitrogen, Fluorouracil, or blu light therapy. Depending on location and quantity, treatment options vary.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal Cell’s appear shiny/pearl like bumps and range from small to large in size. Some treatment options include electrodessication and curettage, excision, or injection of Fluorouracil.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) present themselves as scaly, crusty lesions that feel rough, thick, or wound like. Most SCC’s are treated by excision and repair of the lesion.

Melanoma is the most serious and dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanomas are often diagnosed when a mole starts changing shape, texture, color, or size. Someone who has many moles has a higher risk than the general population of developing melanoma, although melanoma can be hereditary as well.