The two most common kinds of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. (Carcinoma is cancer that begins in the cells that cover or line an organ.) Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancers in the United States. It is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body.
Another type of cancer that occurs in the skin is melanoma, which begins in the melanocytes. Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily–often those with red or blond hair and blue or light-colored eyes.