Skin Cancers

There are many types of skin cancers. The commonest skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma. Almost all skin cancers are often related to sun exposure and some people may have a genetic basis or susceptibility. 

Types of Skin Cancers

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

BCC usually occurs on the head and neck and may look like a pinkish mole, pigmented growth or ulcer. They grow very slowly on the skin and very rarely spread to other organs. BCC is often treated successfully with skin surgery. 

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

SCC mostly looks like a scaly growth or maybe ulcer which gradually increases in size. It can spread to the nearby lymph nodes of affected areas. Surgery is curative and may be combined with radiotherapy depending on the stage of squamous cell carcinoma.

3. Malignant Melanoma

Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because it can spread very quickly to other organs in the body and become fatal. Melanoma may arise from any mole on the body and not necessarily over sun-exposed areas.

Diagnosis of Skin Cancers

Diagnosis of skin cancers are difficult for the layman. However, if any skin growth is there which is causing itch, pain or bleeding, or if any ulcer is not healing, one should consult to a dermatologist for a skin checkup. Moles should be regularly monitored for the "ABCD" changes of melanoma:

  • A for asymmetry
  • B for border irregularity
  • C for color changes
  • D for diameter increase.

Individuals with a past history or family history of skin cancer and those who have sun damaged skin should get a regular skin check from a dermatologist at least once a year. If any person has a past history or family history of abnormal (dysplastic) moles or melanoma, they should get a skin check once in 6 months.