Non melanoma skin cancer accounts for the majority of skin cancer. Actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are among the most common types of non melanoma skin cancer. These tumors usually do not appear black or dark in contrast to melanoma and arise on skin that is frequently exposed to the sun such as head, neck, upper body and arms.
Actinic keratosis (also known as solar or senile keratosis) is characterized by a scaly patch which feels a bit raspy on the surface. These lesions are precancerous and require treatment, ideally before progressing to a manifest squamous cell carcinoma.
Basaliomas can appear in different forms and shapes but are commonly round like a nodule, are characterized by enlarged capillary vessels (telangiectases) and eventually start to ulcerate in the center. These forms of cancer tend to grow invasively but do rarely metastasize. Due to its tendency to grow locally destructive, early treatment is required to avoid major surgery.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is mostly skin-colored, grows as a nodular tumor and can arise either on the base of a premalignant lesion such as an actinic keratosis or de novo.
The good news is that for almost all types of non melanoma skin cancer, therapy is available. If diagnosed early, surgery could be avoided since alternative treatments are available. However, advanced stages require surgical treatment with complete removal of the tumor.
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