Types of Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

Often regarded as the most common form of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) occurs most frequently on areas of the body that have had prolonged exposure to the sun.

Early detection and treatment is vital because, although it rarely spreads (metastasises) to other organs of the body, it can destroy surrounding tissue.

BCCs may have several different appearances on your skin and indicative warning signs include an open sore, a reddish patch, a growth with an elevated border and a central indentation, a bump or nodule, and a scar-like area.

People with fair skin, light hair, and with blue, green or grey eyes are considered to be especially at risk. In rare instances, burns, exposure to radiation, arsenical intoxication, or chronic dermatitis are also contributing factors.

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Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

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With its origins in the outer epidermal layer of the skin and mucous membranes, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a major type of skin cancer that appears, most commonly, on areas that have had prolonged exposure to the sun.

 

Untreated, SCC may penetrate and destroy the underlying tissue and, in a small percentage of cases, can spread to other organs and could be fatal.

As with Basal Cell Carcinomas, people with fair skin, light hair, and with blue, green or grey eyes are considered to be especially at risk. In rare instances, burns, exposure to radiation, arsenical intoxication, chronic dermatitis, or immunosuppression may also be contributing factors.

 

Dark-skinned people are also at risk, especially at sites of pre-existing inflammatory conditions or burns.

Indicators for the presence of SCC may include scaly red patches, elevated growth with a central depression, wart-like growths, nodules, and open sores — all of which may develop a crusted surface or bleed.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious skin cancer and the fourth most common cancer overall. Unfortunately, it doesn’t discriminate: it can affect anyone, at any age, and occur anywhere on the body.

 

More worrying, is the increasing incidence of Melanoma which accounts for around 1600 deaths a year.

 

However, if caught early enough, the prospects are good for long-term survival.

Melanoma is a skin cancer of melanocytes: the cells that produce dark protective pigment called melanin. It’s also known to spread to other organs, making it vital to treat this skin cancer early.

Lesions can be black, dark brown, or multi-coloured in appearance, with irregular edges that can become crusted and bleed.

Again, people who have fair skin, light hair and eye colour are at risk, plus those with a family history of melanoma or who have previously had a melanoma. Tumours can appear without warning sometimes in or near a pre-existing mole.

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Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratoses (AK) is a pre-cancerous lesion of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) that develop on sun-exposed areas of skin.

 

Sometimes called Solar Keratoses or even Sunspots, they appear as rough, tender-to-the-touch, dry and scaly patches on your skin, particularly the face, lips, ears, neck, scalp, forearms, and backs of hands.

AKs are warning signs that your skin has been damaged by the sun’s UV radiation. There may be a risk of it developing into a Squamous Cell Carcinoma indicative by growth, discomfort/tenderness, persistent ulceration or bleeding.

More common in older people, AKs affect those with fair skin, pale coloured eyes, and red or blonde hair who burn easily and do not tan well.