Types of Skin Cancer

There are many different types of skin cancer. The most common types of skin cancer in Australia is the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma’s (or BCC’s) are the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer.

You may notice a skin growth in a dome shape that has blood vessels in it. It can be pink, brown, or black. At first, BCC comes up like a small “pearly” bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or a pimple that doesn’t go away. They are usually seen on the areas of skin most exposed to sun (eg-head and neck).

Depending on the thickness of the tumour, BCC’s may be treated either with surgery or non-surgical treatment (eg creams or light based treatments.)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma’s (or BCC’s) are the second most common form of skin cancer. Although not as dangerous as Melanoma, if these lesions are left untreated they can spread to other areas of the body.

SCCs usually appear as a thickened scaly red spot that is often quite tender and may bleed or ulcerate.

Most SCCs require surgical excision. In some situations SCCs may be treated with radiotherapy or non-surgical treatments.

Melanoma

Melanomas are not as common as BCCs or SCCs however they are more dangerous.

Melanomas usually present as either a new or changing brown spot. Often they have irregular borders and multiple colours however in some situations melanomas may be pink or skin coloured.

Melanomas must be detected early as they can spread to other areas of the body including lymph nodes and other body organs.

Melanomas require surgical excision usually with a wide surgical margin.

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