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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and it affects millions of people worldwide. While skin cancer is a serious condition, it is also highly treatable, especially when detected early. There are several different types of skin cancer, each with its own characteristics and potential for progression. Understanding these various types can help individuals take appropriate precautions, monitor their skin, and seek medical attention from an experienced dermatologist when necessary.

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for about 80% of all skin cancer cases. This cancer begins in the basal cells, which are located in the lowest layer of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. BCC typically develops on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. It often appears as a pearly bump or a pinkish patch, sometimes with visible blood vessels. BCC tends to grow slowly and is less likely to spread to other parts of the body, making it highly treatable when detected early.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, accounting for about 20% of skin cancer cases. SCC develops in the squamous cells of the epidermis. Like BCC, SCC is most often found in areas exposed to the sun. It typically appears as a scaly, red patch or a firm, rapidly growing nodule. Although SCC is less common than BCC, it has a higher potential to spread to other body parts, especially if not treated promptly. Early detection and treatment are crucial for preventing the cancer from spreading.

3. Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, as it has the potential to spread rapidly to other parts of the body, including internal organs. Melanoma begins in melanocytes, the skin cells producing pigment (melanin). Unlike BCC and SCC, melanoma can develop on any part of the body, even in areas not exposed to the sun. It often appears as an irregularly shaped, dark-colored mole or an existing mole that changes in size, shape, or color. Melanoma is known for its “ABCDE” characteristics:

A: Asymmetry (one half of the mole is unlike the other).

B: Border irregularity (the edges are uneven).

C: Color variation (the mole has multiple colors).

D: Diameter (larger than a pencil eraser).

E: Evolving (changes over time).

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for melanoma, as advanced cases can be challenging to treat.

4. Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer. It originates in the Merkel cells, which are responsible for the sense of touch. This type of cancer typically appears as a painless, firm, flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule on the skin. Merkel cell carcinoma often develops on sun-exposed areas, such as the head and neck. Due to its rapid growth and potential to spread to other parts of the body, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. However, it is a relatively rare form of skin cancer, accounting for a small percentage of cases.

5. Cutaneous Lymphoma

Cutaneous lymphomas are a group of cancers affecting the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, primarily involving the skin. These cancers differ from other skin cancers as they originate in the lymphatic system and then involve the skin. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL) are the two main categories of cutaneous lymphoma. Symptoms may include red, scaly, or itchy skin patches or tumors. The prognosis and treatment options depend on the specific type of cutaneous lymphoma.

6. Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is a rare and slow-growing skin cancer that typically develops in the deep layers of the skin. It often appears as a thick, scar-like or raised lesion that may be reddish, purple, or skin-colored. DFSP is known for its potential to invade surrounding tissues, and it can be challenging to completely remove. Early diagnosis and surgical intervention are key to preventing its spread.

7. Sebaceous Gland Carcinoma

Sebaceous gland carcinoma originates in the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing an oily substance called sebum. This rare and aggressive skin cancer often appears as a painless, yellowish lump or nodule, typically on the eyelids. Due to its potential to spread to the lymph nodes and distant organs, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential.

Skin cancer encompasses various types, each with its own characteristics, potential for progression, and treatment options. Regular skin examinations and early detection are critical for improving the prognosis of skin cancer cases. Individuals should seek medical attention if they notice any suspicious changes in their skin. Consulting with a dermatologist at Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta, GA, for routine skin checks can identify skin cancer growths in their early stages. Call our office today to schedule a skin check or to examine any suspicious skin growths.


Posted on behalf of Medical Dermatology Specialists, P.C.

5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: Call (404) 939-9220
FAX: (470) 312-2157

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Dr. Weisman was very professional, friendly, and engaged in conversation with terminology I would understand. Her beside manner was, quite frankly, surprising! It was one of the most comfortable visits I've ever experienced with a doctor.
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Dr. Weisman is a great doctor! She was very informative and personally! Her staff were very welcoming as well I'm glad I found her because she is the only doctor who truly explained what was going with me.
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I truly cannot express how thankful I am for this practice. I have been treated with kindness and immense care by every staff member I have encountered here. The nurses and assistants are beyond attentive and genuinely care for the patient. I have just received a treatment plan from Dr. Laura Biehl, and even if this particular treatment plan doesn't provide me relief, I am confident that Dr. Biehl will work to figure out a solution. She is extremely knowledgeable, listens to patient concerns, and takes time to answer patient questions. Dr. Biehl, and this practice are true gems. If you have any dermatological issues this practice is absolutely the best of the best.
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Contact Medical Dermatology Specialists

If your skin disease is affecting your quality of life or you have been told your skin disorder is no longer treatable, we invite you to discover our unique medical dermatology practice in Atlanta. You will find a team of experts in dermatology who are not only dedicated to treating your skin symptoms, but who will work with your primary care doctor and other specialists to give you the comprehensive skin care approach you need to be healthy. Dr. Weisman can show you what it means to have a doctor who is truly an advocate for your health.

Contact our Atlanta Dermatologist today for personalized care and strong expertise in skin care for your entire family.


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Medical Dermatology Specialists, P.C.


5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328



Phone: (404) 939-9220
Fax: (470) 312-2157
Research Fax: (470) 312-2156

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 7:45AM - 4:45PM
Sat - Sun: Closed

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