Skin cancer is a disease caused by the abnormal division of human skin cells, and can result in disfigurement or death if left untreated. It is the most common form of cancer in New Zealand, and up to 40 percent of the world’s population will develop the disease in the course of a lifetime. While skin cancer can be idiopathic (from an unknown cause) it is thought by most experts that approximately 85 percent of all skin cancer types occur from over exposure to the sun.
SKIN CANCER: BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
There are several types of skin cancer, the most curable of which is basal cell carcinoma. This type remains localised to the area of the patient’s skin where it first appears, and rarely reoccurs after it is removed by a surgeon. A basal cell legion will often bleed, form a scab, and then bleed again over the course of several weeks or months. If left untreated this pattern will continue, which prompts most individuals to seek medical attention to discover the cause.
SKIN CANCER: SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
Unlike basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas frequently metastasise (spread) to other parts of the body. Many individuals mistake this kind of cancer for a rash, due to its red bumpy appearance. This type of cancer is highly curable if diagnosed in its early stages; however, if the condition is ignored, the patient’s chance for a full recovery is lessened considerably.
MELANOMA SKIN CANER
Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, as it typically spreads quickly to surrounding tissues. If the malignancy spreads to the patient’s lymph glands, the mortality rate is almost 100 percent. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 75,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in 2010, with the highest occurrence of the disease found among fair skinned individuals living in northern Europe.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is essential for all types of cancer. One should take the time to learn how to prevent skin cancer and protect his or her skin from the harmful rays of the sun. It is also important to educate oneself concerning the warning signs of the disease. Suspicious skin legions should always be evaluated.
If you have concerns over a rash, mole or discolouration of the skin, then let us help. Book an appointment with MoleMap as soon possible, remember early detection reduces the risk.