What is basal & squamous cell carcinoma?
There are three main types of skin cancer – melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. All of these develop due to uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are more common than melanoma but are less likely to spread beyond the skin’s surface if caught early.
Our skin has a top layer called the epidermis that is made up of three types of cells. The lower layer of the epidermis is made of tall cells called basal cells. These are the cells that can develop into basal cell carcinoma.
The layer above it, the bit that we can see, is made of flat cells called squamous cells. These cells may develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
The third type of cell makes melanin, the pigment that gives us tans and forms moles. These are called malanocytes and are the cells that can develop into melanoma.
Where basal & squamous cell carcinoma occurs
Basal cell carcinoma is more common than squamous cell carcinoma but the treatment and usual locations of each are similar. Both are likely to occur in areas that have had most exposure to the sun. These include the face, hands, neck, arms, shoulders and lower legs.