Skin cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells. It commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the face and body, but can also present on more concealed areas like under a nail or on the soles of the feet.

For this reason, it is extremely important to conduct monthly self-exams, inspecting the entire body from head to toe, and see your dermatologist for an annual skin cancer screening.

Continue reading to learn more about the different types of skin cancer and common skin cancer symptoms.

What Are the 3 Most Common Types of Skin Cancer?

The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma originates in the squamous cells which are just below the outer surface and serve as the inner lining of skin.

Basal cell carcinoma develops in basal cells, which are found right under squamous cells and responsible for generating new skin cells.

Melanoma begins in pigment-producing cells, known as melanocytes. Although melanoma is far less common than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, it is more aggressive and spreads more quickly. This is why it is essential to detect and treat melanoma in its earliest stages.

Skin Cancer Symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and can usually be found on sun-exposed areas. While it can present in a number of different ways, it often appears as:

  • A bump with a pearly or waxy appearance
  • A scar-like lesion that is flat, flesh-colored or brown
  • A sore that tends to bleed and scab, but never fully heals

Squamous cell carcinoma is also prevalent on sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, and hands and may occur as:

  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface

Melanoma can develop throughout the body and often appears as a new or existing lesion with:

  • Asymmetry
  • Irregular borders
  • Multiple colors including red, pink, white, blue or blue-black
  • Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser
  • Evolving appearance

Schedule a Skin Cancer Screening Today

If you would like to schedule a comprehensive skin cancer screening, please call our office today to make an appointment with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marjan Yousefi.

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About Us

Marjan Yousefi, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Her practice focuses on adult and pediatric dermatology, dermatologic surgery, and cosmetic procedures to enhance the skin.

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2300 North Pershing Dr., Suite 204, Arlington, VA 22201

8230 Boone Blvd., Suite 430, Vienna, VA 22182

Office: (703) 255-5070

Fax: 703-891-9884


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