The vast majority of skin cancers fall under below three large categories


Least common and most dangerous type of skin cancer


2nd most common and can be dangerous (especially if grows over head and neck area)


Most common and least dangerous type of skin cancer

Malignant Melanoma (MM)

One of the least common but most dangerous skin cancers
Melanomas can grow fast and quick. If untreated they can metastasise to other parts of the body and can become life-threatening in as little as few weeks. They can also appear on areas of skin not normally exposed to the sun. They are usually painless, flat, brown/black with an uneven outline but sometimes can also look like a regular, raised, itchy or painful

They may be blotchy with more than one colour – brown, black, blue, red, grey or combination of any of these colours. However, some melanomas are pink or skin coloured.

Use ABCDEFG to look for melanoma where:

A = asymmetry, if two halves of the mole match if you draw a line in the middle

B = border, look for spots with uneven borders

C = colour, look for spots with an unusual colour or more than one shade

D = diameter, look for spots that are larger than 6 mm

E = elevated

F = firm nodule

G = growing

Nodular Melanoma

A highly dangerous subtype of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas – they are usually raised, firm, fast growing and uniform in colour (often red or pink but some can be brown or black). These types of melanomas grow very quickly (within weeks) and can be life threatening if not detected and removed quickly.

Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC)

Second most common skin cancer and usually less dangerous than melanoma unless they are of certain subtypes growing over head and neck areas
It grows over few weeks to months and appears on skin more often exposed to the sun. It can be a crusty, thickened, red, scaly spot/nodule that is usually itchy and painful.

Basal Cell Cancer (BCC)

This is the most common but least dangerous form of skin cancer.
It grows slowly, usually over the face, scalp, neck and upper torso.They usually grow as smooth painless pink nodules that easily bleed or irregular pink non healing patches. As they grow, they may ulcerate or appear like a sore that fail to completely heal or one that does heal but then breaks down again.