Skin Cancer

skin cancer

Look Great, Be Healthier 

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. More than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Of these, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are highly treatable. Skin cancer occurs when abnormal, malignant cells form in tissues of the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common in places that have been exposed to more sunlight, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms. There are three main types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and it forms in basal cells (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of skin). It almost never spreads (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Individuals with fair skin and who are older have higher rates of basal cell carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is skin cancer that forms in squamous cells (flat cells that form on the surface of the skin). It is mainly caused by sun exposure, but it can appear on skin that has been burned, damaged by chemicals or excessively exposed to x-rays.


Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer skin cancer, and it forms in melanocytes (skin cells that make pigment), and it’s  Melanoma can spread (metastasize) quickly to other parts of the body through the lymph system or through the blood. The Penn Medicine Virtua Cancer Program offers a range of diagnostic procedures, advanced treatment options and personalized support services for those diagnosed with skin cancer. Patients receive an individualized treatment plan which includes these options:

  • Curettage and electrodesiccation
    The cancer is removed with a sharp, spoon-shaped instrument called a curettage. An electric current is used to control bleeding and kill any cancer cells remaining around the edge of the wound.
  • Mohs surgery
    The area is shaved one thin layer at a time. Each layer is checked under a microscope until only healthy tissue is visible on the shavings.
  • Cryosurgery
    Abnormal cells are frozen and killed.
  • Other treatments
    In addition, we offer surgery, laser therapy, topical or systemic chemotherapy, biological therapy (or immunotherapy), radiation oncology, and national and regional clinical trials.
For more information about Virtua’s skin cancer services,
call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).


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