Skin Cancer

The most common form of cancer in the United States, skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that primarily occurs on skin that has seen excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. However, it can develop on parts of the body that receive little or no exposure to the sun, including the genitals. More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, and one in five people will develop it. There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Other less common types of skin cancer include Merkel cell carcinoma and dermatofibrosarcoma protruberans. Skin cancer causes cells to grow rapidly, forming malignant (cancerous) tumors. If treated early, skin cancer usually is not life-threatening, but if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body, including lymph nodes and bones.



UAB Medicine Dermatology is one of the top such programs in the nation for the management of complicated skin disorders. In fact, it is one of only six Skin Diseases Research Centers in the United States as designated and funded by the National Institutes of Health. This interdisciplinary center of excellence in investigative dermatology and cutaneous biology is a rare resource in the Southeast. As part of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, we manage thousands of skin cancer cases each year, treating melanoma, high-risk basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and other rare skin tumors.

UAB Medicine provides the most advanced services and facilities for the care of skin cancer. Our dermatopathologists offer specialized care in both dermatology and pathology, diagnosing a variety of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. We offer Mohs Micrographic Surgery, which minimizes unsightly treatment damage by targeting only the abnormal tissue of a skin lesion. In addition, our dermatological research program is one of the nation’s largest and most reputable, and it allows many patients to participate in clinical trials and receive treatments not available at most other medical centers.

The O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center located in a four-state area that includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The center is home to an outstanding faculty of more than 350 physicians and researchers, many of whom are nationally and internationally recognized for their oncology expertise.

From bench to bedside, the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is at the forefront of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and researchers have pioneered advances in chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and nutrition. With its multidisciplinary teams and state-of-the-art technology, the center provides ongoing care to more than 20,000 cancer patients each year.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for skin cancer. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials