What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is a disease of the body’s skin cells, caused mainly by cumulative exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It is a group of diseases in which cells are aggressive (grow and divide without respect to normal cell limits), invasive (invade and destroy adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastatic (spread to other locations in the body).

Skin cancer usually begins in the outside layer of the skin, called the epidermis. The different skin cancers are named after the type of cell they start from in the epidermis: Basal cells (Basal Cell Carcinoma), Squamous cells (squamous cell carcinoma) and Melanocytes (Melanoma).

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer. Melanomas make up only 5% of all skin cancers.

Queensland has the highest incidence of melanoma per head of population in the world. One in 16 men and one in 24 women in Queensland will develop a melanoma in their lifetime.

If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal. Melanomas can be either flat or lumpy spots with or without dark pigmented color. It may develop in people with limited sun exposure and develop on regions of the skin not regularly exposed to the sun e.g., in between the toes.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) normally appears as a thickened red, scaly spot that may bleed easily or ulcerate. SCC makes up about 20% of all skin cancers. SCC usually grows slowly over months and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated, especially in the head and neck areas.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, and is responsible for 75% of all skin cancers.  It appears as a pearly lump or area that is is red or pale in colour. It may become ulcerated, bleed and fail to heal.

Click here to access Top Health Doctors Skin Cancer Check Flyer

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Please watch the video below to learn more about self skin check

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