There are three forms of skin cancer.

Basal cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma


Recognizing skin cancer

Skin cancer may be present if any of the following simple observations are noticed:

Any lesion that grows;

Any lesion that changes colour or has different colours within it;

A persistently itchy or painful lesion;

A lesion that bleeds;

Any lesion that recurs.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma or rodent ulcer develops from the lowermost level of the skin and tends to be slow growing and does not spread. A rodent ulcer can be recognized as a rough or scaly bump or as a small ulcer. They generally form where skin meets membrane at the corner of the eye or mouth. This flesh-coloured, painless lesion rarely grows beyond 1cm in diameter without being noticed and dealt with.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma usually arises due to skin damage from heat, ultraviolet light, chronic infection or compromised blood flow, such as in association with arteriosclerosis or venous ulceration. This tumour is invasive to local tissues, ulcerates easily and appears as a friable lesion that bleeds easily. Squamous cell carcinoma does metastasize and can settle in the lymph glands and other parts of the body.


Melanoma is discussed in its own section . Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are named after the cell from which the cancer initially developed.

However, SCC is less dangerous than melanoma because it is slower growing and less apt to spread and usually tends to produce some local symptoms. It is also amenable to chemotherapy and radio therapy if the need should arise.


Pay attention to the above-mentioned criteria and have any such lesion removed. However experienced a practitioner might be, only the microscope can discern a cancerous cell.

Any skin lesion that does not resolve easily must be considered to be a type of skin cancer and excised.

Squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma must be treated with respect and the advice given for general cancer should be adhered to .

Basal cell carcinomas need only have local treatment but a tendency to recurrence suggests an underlying tendency to cancer that may exhibit itself elsewhere in a more serious form.