What are the dangerous forms of skin cancer?
Skin cancer expert, Dr Raj Mallipeddi describes the most common types in order of decreasing frequency but increasing severity as being the following:
- Basal cell carcinoma,
- Squamous cell carcinoma and
The incidence rates overall are increasing year on year. The most recent data from 2010 revealed over 112,000 cases of skin cancer in the UK.
The Guide to Sun and Moles
In his plain English article with useful illustrative pictures, Dr Mallipeddi explains the A, B, C, D guide for checking changes in moles.
Melanoma tends to appear as a new lesion more often than developing from a pre-existing mole. Therefore, a new mole or one which is out of keeping with the surrounding moles should be scrutinised more carefully. Moles which become itchy or bleed may also need further specialist attention.
It is also important to realise that most skin cancers do not appear as “moles” in the typical sense. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a pearly pink/red nodule, a red scaly patch or an ulcer. There is often a history of bleeding. Squamous cell carcinoma often appears as a scaly or crusty area of skin or lump, with a red, inflamed base. They may be tender and bleed when rubbed.
Ageing and Actinic Keratoses
As we age we develop scaly rough patches predominantly in sun exposed areas (e.g. face, ears, scalp in balding areas, backs of hands and forearms). These are known as actinic keratoses and they become more common with advancing age especially in fair skinned people with a history of sun exposure. These occasionally develop into squamous cell carcinoma and so can be considered pre-cancerous.
If you are concerned about your skin and need to know what to look out for, this is the best starting point - http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/clinical-experts/dr-raj-mallipeddi/what-si…