The occurrence of skin cancers are increasing globally with Australia having the highest incidence of skin cancers. It is therefore essential that annual skin checks are carried out so skin cancers are detected and treated appropriately. There are three broad types of skin cancers to look out for:
Melanomas are potentially a very serious type of skin cancer. They are characterised by uncontrolled growth of pigment cells (melanocytes). These can either remain localised or spread very quickly (malignant melanoma). Australia has the highest rates of melanomas in the world. Is it very important that these are screened early and treated accordingly. A quick biopsy (skin sample) can confirm a melanoma and it can be removed with minor surgery.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinomas are another potentially very serious type of skin cancer that can grow and spread quickly if left untreated (weeks to months). They are a form of keratinocyte skin cancer, which are formed from cells beneath the epidermis that make keratin. They are typically characterised by scaley, crusted lumps that can ulcerate. They occur more commonly on sun exposed areas such as the face, ears, lips, hands and legs etc. These are diagnosed via skin biopsy and can be treated from cryotherapy to minor surgery removal.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinomas represent the commonest type of skin cancer. They are a keratinocyte skin cancer that are usually localised. They are also known as the ‘rodent ulcer.’ They tend to be slowly growing plaques or nodules and are more common on sun exposed areas of the body. They are confirmed by skin biopsy and can be treated using creams, cryotherapy or minor surgery depending on the size and location of the skin lesion.
Medical Skin Consultation
A skin doctor will examine any suspicious lesion using dermatoscopy and at times may utilise biopsy to diagnose the type of skin cancer. You can expect the consultation to be thorough and safe, your doctor will explain any skin procedures that you may benefit from.
Before and After
Excision of BCC with skin flap repair
Excision of nodular BCC near the lip