Overview Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer; it grows slowly and rarely spreads elsewhere in the body. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type. Both of these cancers are treatable. Understanding Your Diagnosis A biopsy is the only way for your doctor to know for sure if you have cancer. A biopsy for skin cancer can be done in one of several ways. Deciding on Treatment Surgery is the most common treatment for skin cancer. Some types of skin cancer growths can be removed easily with minor surgery, but others may require a more extensive surgical procedure. Managing Side Effects Most treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer affect only the areas being treated. Because of this local treatment, side effects are usually minimal.