Types and symptoms of skin cancer on the scalp
Skin cancer involves the abnormal growth of cells of the skin, and it usually occurs on areas that have more sun exposure. Skin cancer develops when errors occur in the genetic material (DNA) of skin cells. These mutations cause cells to grow abnormally, forming a tumor or mass of cells.
Skin cancer starts in the top layer of the skin (epidermis). The epidermis consists of three main kinds of cells: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. The type of cell where the skin cancer starts determines its kind and the treatment options.
Factors that can make you more prone to developing skin cancer on the scalp are:
- Having fair skin, light-colored eyes, and red or blonde hair and more easily developing a sunburn or freckles
- A personal history of sunburns
- Excessive exposure to the sun, particularly if you don’t protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen
- Living in high-altitude or sunny climates
- Having abnormal or multiple moles
- Having precancerous skin lesions known as actinic keratoses
- A family or personal history of skin cancer
- A weakened immune system such as from HIV/AIDS or immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant
- Having undergone radiation therapy for skin problems such as acne and eczema
- Exposure to certain substances such as arsenic
There are three main types of skin cancer: squamous cell cancer, basal cell cancer, and melanoma.