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There are three
main types of
skin cancer

(Basal Cell Cancer)

  • This is the most common type of skin cancer
  • Mostly occurs in places that receive a lot of sun exposure (head, shoulders and back)
  • Growth is slow and rarely spreads (potentially more dangerous when it occurs on the face
  • BCCs usually appear pink, shiny and may bleed or itch

(Squamous Cell Cancer)

  • This skin cancer type is more serious and can spread to the lymph glands
  • SCCs often form from sunspots (head, arms, hands and lower limbs)
  • Can grow quickly over weeks and months
  • They usually appear scaly, crusty, thick and tender to touch


  • The most serious skin cancer type as it can spread via the bloodstream through the body​
  • Can be found on any part of the body, including places that do not even receive any sun exposure including soles of feet, inside mouth, eyes, under finger or toenails and groin​
  • Melanomas can appear raised or flat, pink or brown, and can grow fast or slow

Note: These pictures show more advanced examples of skin cancers, but remember that not all skin cancer look alike and the early signs of skin cancer can be very subtle. If you have a spot or mole which is Sore, Changing, Abnormal or New – don’t delay! Get it checked. 

Skin Cancer College Australasia would like to thank Dr Richard Johns for generously supplying lesion images for use on this page.