Risk factors for skin cancer include exposure to UV radiation from the sun, e.g. by living in a sunny climate or working outside. Having fair skin or a positive family history also increases your chances of developing skin cancer.
Types of skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): often presents as a scab that fails to heal and occasionally bleeds. It is very slow-growing and doesn’t spread to other organs, but early treatment is always recommended.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): presents as a firm lump which may be crusted or scaly. SCCs can grow more rapidly than BCC and if left untreated can spread.
Melanoma: is a skin cancer arising from pigment cells or melanocytes and most commonly presents as a new or changing mole-like lesion. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it can spread.
How is skin cancer treated?
Pre-cancerous skin lesions can be treated with creams or by cryotherapy. Suspected skin cancer is usually treated by excising the lesion under local anaesthetic. Sometimes a sample biopsy to test whether or not the lesion is a skin cancer may be needed to plan the best treatment.