The three most common forms of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Skin cancers are named by the type of cell in which the cancer develops, and are the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer. In addition, development of skin cancer is commonly associated with cumulative exposure to the sun (UV rays), and skin cancers often occur in sun-exposed areas of the body (face, nose, ears, lips, scalp, neck, hands).
Surgical removal of skin cancer is a common procedure, and the type of surgery may depend upon the type of skin cancer (for example, basal cell, squamous cell, or melanoma). In some situations (ie melanoma), biopsy of the lymph nodes may be required. This procedure is known as a sentinel lymph node biopsy. In many circumstances, the procedure can be performed under local anesthesia. In some situations (usually if a lymph node biopsy is required) the procedure may be performed under a general anesthetic.