Skin cancer, the abnormal growth of cells in the skin, is the most common type of cancer. It’s almost always cured when it’s found early and treated, so it’s important to see your doctor if you have changes in your skin. 


Most skin cancers are one of two main non-melanoma types of cancer. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Most non-melanoma cancers are this type. It can damage deeper tissues, such as muscles and bones. It almost never spreads to other parts of the body. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This type is less common. It often starts in skin that has been injured or diseased. It sometimes spreads to other parts of the body. 


Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It can affect your skin only, or it may spread to your organs and bones. Luckily, it can be cured if it's found and treated early. You can get melanoma by spending too much time in the sun. This causes normal skin cells to become abnormal. These abnormal cells quickly grow out of control and attack the tissues around them.

Melanoma tends to run in families. Other things in your family background can increase your chances of getting the disease. For example, you may have abnormal, or atypical, moles. Atypical moles may fade into the skin and have a flat part that is level with the skin. They may be smooth or slightly scaly, or they may look rough and "pebbly." These moles don't cause cancer by themselves, but having many of them is a sign that melanoma may run in your family.