Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It is important to know which type of skin cancer a patient has because it affects treatment options and prognosis. Melanoma is less common than some other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread. Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin, but they are more likely to start on the trunk in men and on the legs in women. Risk factors include UV light exposure (sunlight), moles, fair skin, freckling, light hair and a family history, among others. Prevention by using sunscreen and limiting time in direct sunlight as well as frequent skin checks are key for detecting and preventing melanoma.
Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common skin cancers, and are more common than any other form of cancer. They rarely spread to other parts of the body, so they are usually less concerning and are treated differently from melanoma.
There are also other types of skin cancers that account for less than 1% of all skin cancers, which include Merkel cell carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma, Cutaneous (skin) lymphoma, Skin adnexal tumors and various types of sarcomas.