Understanding Skin Cancer

Understanding Skin Cancer Author: William Blake

Skin cancer is becoming more widespread than ever before. There are now more than 65,000 new cases of non-melanoma and 8,000 new cases of malignant melanoma skin cancer each year in the UK. The UK has more deaths from skin cancer than Australia, even though Australia has more cases.


Moles that change shape or colour can indicate the presence of a malignant melanoma which is why it\'s important to keep an eye on moles. Melanoma are often pigmented and appear as moles. Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of the disease and can spread to other organs in the body. There are 3 types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma , and malignant melanoma.

A range of treatment options have proved successful in treating skin cancer. But about 1,800 people still die from malignant melanoma skin cancer annually. Treatment may include surgical removal, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological therapy, depending on the type of skin cancer. When skin cancer is found early it is much easier to treat. If diagnosed late, treatment is not usually able to cure the cancer.

Malignant melanoma is one of the most common cancers in people aged 20 - 35, affects indoors workers more than outdoor workers and is more common in women than men. Too much sunburn as a child increases the risk of skin cancer in later life, so children should be protected from the sun. Non-melanoma skin cancer affects men more than women and is more common in those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

Those most at risk of skin cancer are people with light or fair skin, freckles, who burn lobster red in the sun, already have moles and/or spend too long in the sun without protection. Brown- or black-skinned people rarely get skin cancer, but everyone should be careful. There are some rare, inherited skin diseases that make people highly sensitive to sunlight and much more likely to get any type of skin cancer.

Since there are similarities between regular skin conditions and skin cancer you may not be able to tell the difference purely by examination and therefore may require a biopsy. If it\'s cancerous it\'ll be removed by radiotherapy or surgery.

Both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer. In the old days sun creams only blocked out UVB, but nowadays many suncreams block out a lot of UVA as well as UVB.

The real issue though is that sun creams make people think that they can stay out in the sun for extended periods of time, thereby increasing their risk of skin cancer regardless of the protection.

William is a Party Wall Surveyor, and deals with Party Wall Surveys. In his spare time he enjoys scuba diving and free diving. He has an interest in skin cancer since he is fair skinned and his father had it several years ago.


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