Types of Skin Cancers
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australians. About 2 in 3 Australians will have developed a skin cancer by age 70.
Almost 800,000 new cases of basal cell carcinoma [BCC] and squamous cell carcinoma [SCC] are treated each year. BCCs are most common over age 40 and SCCs over the age of 50.
Melanoma is the third most common form of skin cancer with about 12,000 being diagnosed every year. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in persons between the ages of 15 and 30.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
- This type of skin cancer accounts for about 70% of skin cancers
- It can develop anywhere on the body, but most commonly occurs on areas of high sun exposure such as the head, face, neck and shoulders
- It may appear as a shiny and pale red area or pearl coloured lump
- The BCC may bleed and become inflamed
- It usually grows slowly and rarely spreads
- Having one BCC increases the risk of another occurring
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- This skin cancer accounts for about 25% of skin cancers
- It usually appears on parts of the body most frequently exposed to the sun, such as head, hands and lower legs, but it can occur anywhere on the skin
- The SCC often appears as a thickened red scaly spot or lump and it can be tender to touch
- SCC near the lips, ears and nose may spread to other parts of the body if left untreated
- These should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible
- Accounts for about 5% of skin cancers
- Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world
- Melanoma is considered the most serious skin cancer and is more likely to spread to other areas of the body such as the lungs, liver and brain
- It can appear as a new or existing mole that changes size, shape and colour over a number of weeks or months. (It may have more than one colour such as white, light grey, pink, brown, black, blue or red)
- The earlier melanoma is diagnosed the more it can be treated successfully
- Any changing mole or rapidly growing skin lump should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible
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