Where skin cancer develops

Skin cancer begins in the cells that make up the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. One type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma begins in the basal cells. Basal cells make skin cells that keep pushing older cells toward the surface. As new cells move up, they become squamous cells. Skin cancer that starts in the squamous cells is called squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Melanoma, another type of skin cancer, comes from the pigment cells, called melanocytes.