Types of Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia. The Cancer Council estimates that around two in three Australians will experience some form of skin cancer before they turn 70. In fact, they even say that Australia has the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

This page contains an overview of all the different types of skin cancers, what to look for and how to prevent them.

It is important to note: If you are concerned that you have any signs of skin cancer, please see a doctor.


Skin cancer is grouped into three main types: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma. Other skin lesions often associated with skin cancer include Actinic Keratosis and Atypical Moles. These are not cancerous but can often indicate future risk of cancer developing.
Basal Cell CarcinomaSquamous Cell CarcinomaMelanoma
This section also contains information about:
Actinic KeratosisAtypical Moles
These are not skin cancers but can indicate a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

There are many other types of benign lesions such as seborrhoeic keratoses and dermatofibromas which you can also read about.

Actinic Keratosis

Also known as solar keratosis, Actinic Keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion. Like skin cancers, it is caused by over exposure to UV radiation via the sun. This makes them very common to be found on areas like the face, lips, ears, neck, scalp, forearms and backs of your hands. These are very common spots that usually appear as scaly patches on the skin.

While these spots are not cancerous, they can increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer and should be regularly checked and monitored by a doctor.

Atypical Moles

Atypical moles are an unusual looking and asymmetrically shaped benign mole. They are also known as dysplastic nevi and can develop anywhere on the body. They often look very similar to melanoma and do place people at a higher risk of developing melanoma, but they are not cancerous.

Due to the higher risk associated with melanoma, it is important to have these moles checked by your doctor and to continue to monitor them for changes that may indicate melanoma.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram