The Difference Between Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers

Blog, Education

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common types of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, over 5 million cases of basal cell and squamous cell cancers are diagnosed every year. Basal cell occurs more often, taking credit for about 80% of these cases.

Other than the disparities in occurrence, what is the difference between basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma?

Let’s start with a quick overview of the epidermis (the top layer of your skin). There are 3 main types of skin cells located within the epidermis: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes.

Squamous cells are flat cells located on the outer layer of the epidermis that we shed as new cells grow and replace the old.

Basal cells are lower in the epidermis, constantly dividing to form new cells that eventually replace the squamous cells we have shed. As they rise to the surface of the epidermis, they become flatter, transforming from basal to squamous.

Melanocytes are the cells that produce the pigment melanin, which gives our skin its color.

Back to our question: what’s the difference between squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma? It’s just like real estate – it’s all about location, location, location.

Basal cell carcinomas arise in the basal cells of your epidermis, squamous cell carcinomas are born from the squamous cell layer of your epidermis, and melanomas grow in the melanocytes.

One more difference: while still relatively uncommon, squamous cell cancers are more likely to grow deeper into the layers of your skin and spread to other parts of the body than basal cell cancers.

Are you concerned that you may have basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma? Read more about the causes of these two common skin cancers, along with their symptoms (basal and squamous). Then, reach out to your doctor right away to schedule a visit.

Looking for a painless, non-surgical treatment option for your basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma? The SRT-100™ could be perfect for you. This revolutionary machine utilizes Superficial Radiation Therapy to successfully treat non-melanoma skin cancers. Contact Sensus Healthcare today for more information or for help finding treatment near you.

Share:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone