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There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis. It’s very common and accounts for more than 75% of all skin cancers in the UK. Most BCCs are very slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body. They often start as a small, red, shiny spot or nodule that may bleed occasionally.
Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a cancer of the cells (called keratinocytes) found in the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis). It’s the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. One in five skin cancers (20%) are this type. Usually squamous cell carcinomas are slow-growing and only spread to other parts of the body if they are left untreated for a long time.
This is a less common type of skin cancer - Melanoma behaves differently to basal cell and squamous cell cancers and can grow quickly and needs to be treated early. Melanoma is a cancer that usually starts in the skin, either in a mole or in normal-looking skin. About half of all melanomas start in normal-looking skin.