The forms of skin cancer

Skin cancer is increasing and we still don’t recognize it quickly enough. Do we still provide too little information or do people think that it will not happen to them? In any case, recognizing skin cancer early can mean the difference between life and death. A compact explanation.

Which types

Melanoma is the best known, but there are also other skin tumors such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.


Melanomas arise from existing moles or new moles / pigment spots.

  • superficial spreading melanoma (SSM)
  • nodular melanoma (NM)
  • lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM)
  • acrolentiginous melanoma (ALM)

Melanoma is by far the most common.
With existing moles you can recognize them by changes in size, extent or even color, and itching may also occur. While it used to be the case that men suffered more from it on the torso and women on the legs, this difference has now almost disappeared.
This does not alter the fact that melanoma can also occur on the arm or anywhere else and if there is any doubt, the doctor should always be consulted.
Melanoma is very malignant and its development is often unpredictable. Metastases can easily develop and are always within a few centimeters of the original melanoma. If they come between the main tumors and the lymph node area, you may be dealing with metastases. These tumors find their way through the blood and metastases can still be detected 5 to 10 years after diagnosis.

Basal cell carcinoma

It is a less malignant form of skin cancer and arises from the bottom layer of cells just beneath the epidermis. Metastases are rare and the spots look smooth and slightly glassy. A small bump where the blood vessels are clearly visible. This often occurs on the face.

Squamous cell carcinoma

It is somewhat comparable to basal cell carcinoma, only they arise from the horny cells and grow a little faster. Here too, metastases are a rarity, but it is possible.
Where the skin has had an ulcer or something similar for a long time, a spot may develop where such a growth occurs. It may be a bit flaky at first. Where a growth can develop is often the place where the sun can reach the skin.


Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are growths that often lead to healing, but regular monitoring remains a must.
With melanoma the nuance is more complex. It depends on a number of factors, especially the presence or absence of metastases. Figures show that 80% of patients are still alive after 5 years.
In any case, it is always important to go to the doctor immediately if you discover or suspect a possible diagnosis. The sooner you catch it, the better the chances of healing. And if it is nothing, the reassurance is good for peace of mind anyway.
The cancer foundation can always provide more information.

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