Fortunately, the two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are rarely life threatening. As a general rule, basal cell carcinoma does not spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Compared to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma has an increased risk to spread to other parts of the body. Fortunately, distant spread is uncommon when the cancer is caught and treated early. However, both tumors will continue to grow locally and destroy normal tissue. Alternatively, melanoma can be life threatening if treated late. Basal cell skin cancers and squamous cell cancers never “turn into” melanoma.