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Types of Skin Cancer

There are many terms to describe the different types of skin cancer that can occur. For ease of understanding, we can simplify all of these types of skin cancer into three categories:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and the least aggressive of the three main categories of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma arises from the deepest part of the upper layer of the skin (epidermis). This type of skin cancer can be treated chemically (without surgery) or by standard surgical removal. Surgical removal only requires a very small amount (about 1 mm) of normal skin to achieve high cure rates. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads (metastasizes) beyond the actual tumor and therefore treatment does not need to be aggressive to achieve a cure.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer also arises from the epidermal layer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. It does have the possibility to spread beyond the borders of the tumor (metastasize). Treatment can still be done chemically or surgical removal. When possible, direct excision for single or few tumors is ideal. Margins of normal skin should be around 3mm on average.


Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. The tumor arises from melanocytes or pigment producing skin cells. Melanoma is often black or purple in color but also can occur in a variety of other colors including pink and white. When caught early, melanoma is easily curable. Signs of identifying early melanoma tumors often include:

  • Irregular borders
  • Irregular color
  • Irregular or asymmetric shape
  • Greater than 5mm

Surgical treatment for melanoma is recommended. The amount of normal skin around the tumor that should be excised depends on the depth of the melanoma noted on biopsy.

Causes of Skin Cancer

A combination of genetics and environmental exposure are the main causes of skin cancer. Of the environmental sources of skin cancer, sun exposure is by far the most common source overall. This is why sun block as well as routine personal skin exams are so important.

Who should perform skin cancer removal?

We believe board certified plastic surgeons are uniquely capable of removing skin cancer and reconstructing the wound to appear as normal and unnoticeable as possible.

Your Private Consultation

To schedule your private consultation, please call our office today at 855 377 3782 or click either the in-office or virtual consult button below.

In-Office Virtual

No matter what type of skin cancer you’ve had, Dr. Repta has the ability to successfully reconstruct the removal area to appear as unnoticeable as possible. The first step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Repta so that he can examine you and determine the best technique for you. This initial meeting takes place in our private, comfortable office setting, where you’ll have the opportunity to voice any questions and concerns about the procedure. We invite you to reach out to us today. 

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