The risks, indications and types of skin cancer:

Who is at risk from skin cancer

  • People who have already had a skin cancer or pre-cancerous conditions
  • Above average sun exposure (natural or artificial i.e. sunbeds)
  • Fair skin that tends to burns easily
  • Light coloured eyes, e.g. blue, grey or hazel
  • Naturally blonde or red hair
  • Numerous freckles
  • An outdoor occupation and/or intense sun exposure in the past or currently (without the use of a sun screen)
  • An outdoor recreation such as gardening, cycling, golf or sailing (without the use of a sun screen)
  • Frequent use of artificial sun lamps and sunbeds
  • Experienced sunburnt skin in the past
  • A history of skin cancer
  • Had an organ transplant, a blood disorder such as leukaemia and/or taken immunosuppressive drug therapy

What are the signs of skin cancer?

Marks on your skin which:

  • Grow
  • Bleed
  • Change in appearance in any way
  • Never heal completely
  • Any existing mole that changes size, shape, colour or texture

Types of Skin Cancer

Some of the most common are described below:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (rodent ulcer/BCC) – These are often painless flat or slightly raised or nodular lesions that scab, bleeds occasionally and do not heal completely. They are slow growing, and generally do not spread like other cancers. If left for years, they may erode deeper and through the skin, eventually causing an ulcer – hence the name “rodent ulcer”
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – A squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a scaly or crusty raised area of skin, with a red, inflamed base. It may look like an irritated wart, or develop to form a bleeding ulcer. Most small squamous cell carcinomas are not painful, but pain in a growing lump is a suspicious symptom for squamous cell carcinoma. They should be treated without delay
  • Melanoma – Melanomas are rarer, but are the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma usually is an irregular brown or black spot, which may develop within a pre-existing mole or appear on normal skin that never had a mole in that place before. Any change in a mole, or any new mole in adulthood, should be attended to by a specialist without delay.
  • Actinic keratoses (also known as solar keratoses) – Skin cancers may be preceded by a pre-cancerous condition known as actinic keratoses, caused by sun damage. These are usually pink or red spots, with a rough surface, which appear on skin that is exposed to the sun. The face, bald scalp, neck, backs of the hands and forearms are most often affected. Actinic keratoses may be easier to feel, as they are rough, than they are to see. A small number of them are precancerous, but early treatment may prevent them from developing into skin cancer.
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Skin Cancer contact

Skin Cancer page contact

PRACTICE MANAGER: Chelsea Fulton 07534 771264 MEDICAL SECRETARY: Karen Harris 07453 881588
CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS: Enso House Crayfields Business Park, 3 New Mill Road, Orpington BR5 3TW | Tel: 01689 490119 | Fax: 01689 873221