Types of skin cancer

There are many different types of skin cancer. The most common types of skin cancer in Australia is the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma's (or BCC's) are the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer.

They are usually seen on the areas of skin most exposed to the sun (eg head and neck). BCC's often present as a slowly growing pink nodule or flat scaly area. As a BCC grows it may ulcerate or appear as a sore that will not heal.

Depending on the thickness of the tumour, BCC's may be treated either with surgery or non-surgical treatments (eg creams or light based treatments).


Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma's (or SCC's) are the second most common form of skin cancer. Although not as dangerous as Melanoma, if these lesions are left untreated they can spread to other areas of the body.

SCC's usually appear as a thickened scaly red spot that is often quite tender and may bleed or ulcerate.

Most SCC's require surgical excision. In some situations SCC's may be treated with radiotherapy or non-surgical treatments.



Melanomas are not as common as BCC's or SCC's however they are more dangerous.

Melanomas usually present as either a new or changing brown spot. Often they have irregular borders and multiple colours however in some situations melanomas may be pink or skin coloured.

Melanomas must be detected early as they can spread to other areas of the body including lymph nodes and other body organs.

Melanomas require surgical excision, usually with a wide surgical margin.