Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer – it can spread very quickly and once it penetrates below the surface of the skin it can become deadly. Survival rate is largely dependent on the thickness (depth) of melanoma. A person with a melanoma of less than 0.75mm thick can expect to have 95% cure rate. If left until greater than 4mm thick, cure rate is less than 55%, which is why it is so important to detect melanoma early.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in the world. Despite this, very few people die from BCC.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. SCC is more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma because of its ability to spread to other parts of the body.
Identifying Skin Cancer
The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery, potential disfigurement or even death. Talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.
Become familiar with the look of your skin, so you pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer.
What to look for:
- Crusty, non-healing sores
- Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
- New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months (especially those dark brown to black, red or blue-black in colour).
If you notice any changes consult your doctor. Your doctor may perform a biopsy (remove a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope) or refer you to a specialist if he/she suspects a skin cancer.