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Skin Cancers

What skin cancer looks like

Both patients have the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. Even the same type of skin cancer can look very different from person to person. This makes it hard to look at a picture and tell if you have skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin cancer screenings throughout the year. We also can help you find a dermatologist in your area. Simply use the tools in the right column of this page.
The best way to tell if you have skin cancer is to see a dermatologist. You should see a dermatologist right away for a skin cancer check if you see anything on your skin that lasts for 2 weeks or longer and is:
  • Growing.
  • Changing shape.
  • Bleeding or itching.
These are signs of skin cancer. If it is caught early and removed, skin cancer has a high cure rate.

The most common cancer in the world

More than 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. And that's just in the United States. Most Americans will have one of these skin cancers:
  • Basal (bay-sal) cell carcinoma.
  • Squamous (skwey-muhs) cell carcinoma.
  • Melanoma.
Most people get skin cancer from too much sun - or tanning beds. Research shows that indoor tanning (e.g., tanning beds, sun lamps) increases a persons risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent. Learn more about skin cancer: Signs and symptoms Who gets and causes Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome Tips for managing Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.