With rare exceptions, skin cancer takes one of three forms: basal cell, squamous cell, or melanoma. Basal cell cancer is the most common, and while it does not metastasize, it can spread to surrounding tissue. Squamous cell cancer can also damage surrounding skin and, if left untreated, can spread to lymph nodes. Melanoma is less common, making up only 5 percent of skin cancers but, because it can metastasize if not caught early, is more serious.
This table shows factors that can contribute to the development of skin cancer. However, even people without any of these risk factors can develop cancer. The American Cancer Society and American Academy of Dermatology websites provide additional information about skin cancer, including detection tools and prevention recommendations.
Are You at Risk?
June 1, 2010