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Skin Cancer

Any changes or abnormalities in your skin may be the early warning signs of skin cancer. If you have spots or moles that change shape, color, or texture, you should seek prompt medical attention at Beacon Dermatology in Asheville, North Carolina. Board-certified dermatologist Michael Rains, MD, FAAD, can help diagnose and treat skin cancers. To learn more about skin cancer, call Beacon Dermatology or book a consultation online today.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a condition in which uncontrolled growth of skin cells causes abnormal changes in your skin. If you notice any change in the appearance or texture of your skin, including moles or other growths, it may be a sign of skin cancer.

What are the main types of skin cancer?

The main types of skin cancer include: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each form of cancer is named for the cell type it affects.

Basic cell carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma typically affects areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun like the face, shoulders, arms, and torso. It doesn’t often spread, but it can cause damage to the surrounding cells.

Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a pimple, nodule, rough red patch, or scar tissue. It’s the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma affects the uppermost or middle layers of the skin, but it may spread deeper into the body or affect other organs or tissues.

This type of skin cancer often appears as a crusted, red nodule on the skin. It only accounts for about 10% of all skin cancer cases.


Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can be treated easily if caught in its early stages but this form of cancer spreads quickly to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

What causes skin cancer?

The main cause of skin cancer is being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. Having sunburns frequently can also raise your risk of developing skin cancer.

Other risks that may contribute to the development of skin cancer include:

  • A family history of skin cancer
  • Older age
  • Fair skin
  • Blue eyes and blond hair
  • Many moles

Most moles don’t cause problems, but if you have many moles, you may be at a higher risk of developing melanoma.

What should I do if I suspect I have skin cancer?

If you suspect any mole or irregularities in your skin, schedule a consultation at Beacon Dermatology for a comprehensive skin evaluation as soon as possible.

If you have a family history of skin cancer, it’s also important to have regular screenings to monitor your skin so that if any abnormalities arise, they can be treated immediately.

How is skin cancer treated?

At Beacon Dermatology, Dr. Rains can perform many types of skin cancer treatments, including:

  • Electrodesiccation and Curettage
  • Surgical excision
  • Chemical peels (for precancerous lesions)
At a Glance

Michael Rains, MD, FAAD

  • Board certified in dermatology
  • Specializing in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology
  • Author of multiple peer-reviewed publications and previous adjunct faculty at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Learn more

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