What is a Skin Cancer?

 

People often aren't certain about the difference between Melanoma, Skin Cancers, Sunspots and Sun Damage. This should make the terminology a bit clearer.

The three common types of Skin Cancer are

·        Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

·        Squamous Cell carcinoma (SCC)

·        Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. These are often changing Brown or Black spots and can occur anywhere on the body, not just on the sun exposed areas.

Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC) are the most common type of skin cancer. They usually occur on the face, neck or upper back. It is extremely rare for these tumours to spread through your body or shorten your life. They do keep growing however, and can invade locally so they need to be removed.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC) are found in the sun exposed areas such as face, arms and lower legs. They have some risk of spreading to other parts of the body, but a lot less than Melanoma. These are often rough, raised or crusted lesions.

Sunspots is a slang term for Solar Keratoses. These rough patches are usually found on the face and arms, and have potential to develop into Squamous Cell Carcinomas. They are often treated by ‘freezing’ or ‘burning’ them off.

Dysplastic naevi are atypical moles but are not skin cancers. Some people suggest that they were changing or ‘pre cancers’ but there is no good evidence for this.