ABC Medical Center > Skin cancer

What is Skin cancer?

13:41 - 9 April , 2021


It appears when skin cells are damaged mainly by ultraviolet rays from sunlight or tanning beds, causing these cells to produce malignant tumors.

Types of skin cancer

  • Basal-cell carcinoma: it is the most frequent and appears in areas of the body exposed to the sun.
  • Squamous-cell carcinoma: it is the second most common. It looks like a crusty wound with raised edges that bleed easily. It can appear anywhere on the body, although it usually does so in areas exposed to the sun. 
  • Melanoma: this is less common than the others, but it is more aggressive, so it is likely to invade surrounding healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body. 

Signs and symptoms Skin cancer

This type of skin cancer appears due to sun exposure in uncovered areas of the body such as the face, ears, neck, upper or lower limbs; although it is also possible that it occurs in areas with little sun exposure such as the genitals, feet, and palms of the hands.

It affects people of all races and skin tones, including those with dark skin, but it is more common in white skin. 

  • Basal-cell carcinoma:
    • A pearly bump, a flat brown sore, or a crusty sore that bleeds easily.
  • Squamous-cell carcinoma:
    • A hard, red pimple, a flat, scaly, crusty wound.
  • Melanoma:
    • A brown stained area, a kind of mole that changes its color and volume, or a wound that hurts and causes burning.

See your ABC dermatologist if you notice similar skin changes. 

Diagnosis and treatment Skin cancer


The dermatologist will check your skin to determine if it is possible that it is skin cancer. Then, a skin biopsy will be taken to analyze it and establish if it is cancer and what type it is. 


Treatment will depend on the size, type, and location of the skin cancer. Smaller, more superficial cancers only require a skin biopsy to be removed. However, if additional treatments are needed, freezing, excisional surgery, electrodesiccation, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, photodynamic, and/or biological therapy may be included


  • Calderón-Ponce de León Y, Torres-González S, Medina-Bojórquez A. Algoritmo de decisiones para el manejo quirúrgico del carcinoma basocelular. Dermatol Rev Mex. 2020;64(4):456-461.
  • Álvarez CA, Rodríguez AJM, Salas BA. Revisión sistemática del carcinoma basocelular. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(05):483-483.
  • García-Hidalgo L, León-Dorantes G, Juárez-Navarrete L, et al. Características generales de sujetos mexicanos que acuden a jornadas de detección de cáncer de piel. Dermatol Rev Mex. 2019;63(5):455-462.

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