Actinic keratosis – Also called solar keratosis. A skin growth characterized by red scaly areas, which occasionally become cancerous.
Basal cell carcinoma – The most common skin cancer. Basal cells are tiny, round structures found in the lowest part of the skin.
Benign tumor – A noncancerous growth that does not spread to other parts of the body.
Biopsy – The removal and microscopic examination of tissue from the living body for purposes of diagnosis.
Cancer – A general term for more than 100 diseases characterized by abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells. The resulting mass, or tumor, can invade and destroy surrounding normal tissues. Cancer cells from the tumor can spread through the blood or lymph (the clear fluid that bathes body cells) to start new cancers in other parts of the body.
Epidermis – The top skin layer in which both squamous and basal cells are found.
Local anesthetic – A substance that causes temporary loss of sensation or feeling in a small, specific area of the body.
Lymph – A nearly colorless fluid that bathes body cells and moves through the lymphatic vessels of the body.
Malignant tumor – (see definition of cancer)
Melanoma / malignant melanoma – The least common but deadliest skin cancer, melanoma is an abnormal growth of pigment making cells.
Metastasize – The spread of cancer through the blood or lymph from one part of the body to another.
Squamous cell carcinoma – One of the two most common skin cancers. Squamous cells are tiny, flat structures that make up most of the skin’s surface.