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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Skin Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of any part of the skin. When cancer forms in cells that make pigment, it is called melanoma. When cancer forms in cells that do not make pigment it may begin in basal cells (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of skin) or squamous cells (flat cells that form the surface of the skin). Both of these types of skin cancer usually occur in skin that has been exposed to sunlight, such as the skin on the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Internet Resources

Cancer.gov: Skin Cancer
Cancer.gov: Melanoma
Provides access to authoritative documents from the National Cancer Institute,including information about treatment, supportive care, and clinical trials.

MedlinePlus: Skin Cancer
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public. Look for links to familiar places like the National Institutes of Health.

American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society provides extensive resources and support to patients, families, and caregivers.

Cancer.net: Guide to Skin Cancer (Non-Melonoma)
Cancer.net: Guide to Melanoma
Designed especially for cancer patients by the cancer professionals of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, this site is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable, current information about cancer. The symptom management section is especially helpful.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The consumer web site of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, this site offers current cancer news, treatment summaries for the most common types of cancer, and links to leading cancer treatment centers. It also offers practical advice on such topics as living with cancer, paying for treatment, and life after cancer.

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Contains information about the many services offered by the Lurie Cancer Center, oneof thirteen founding members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).


  • Color atlas of dermapathology. Grant-Kels J. 2007
  • Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. Fitzpatrick T. 2005
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer. Longe JL, ed. 2006 Available in print at the Health Learning Center or at http://www.nmh.org/nmh/hlc/main.htm.
  • Skin Cancer. Agnew K., et al. 2005


  • Skin Pathology (Model). 2007.

Journal Articles

  • “Indoor tanning is strongly linked to melanoma risk.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 18(1):7. Sept. 2010
  • “Melanoma: early detection is key to cure.” Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource, 14(5):4-5. May 2010
  • “Protecting Yourself Against Melanoma.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health After 50. 21(5):6-7. July 2009
  • “I Have Skin Cancer.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health After 50. 19(6):8. Aug. 2007


Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Alberto Culver Health Learning Center has joined forces with the American Cancer Society’s Patient Navigator Program to provide assistance to patients and families dealing with cancer. To take advantage of this unique service, provided by a licensed clinical social worker, call 312-926-4282.

Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only national and international organization concerned exclusively with cancer of the skin. It is dedicated to prevention, support, education, and research.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateNovember 2, 2012