Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and rates are on the rise in the UK.
While the majority of skin cancers are easy to treat and curable, some can be very serious and life-threatening if not detected early.
We have lots of experience in treating all types of skin cancer. The most important thing is to get any unusual skin changes examined by a skin cancer dermatologist as soon as possible. Find more information below on skin cancer, and the treatments available at The Dermatology Clinic London.
Basal cell carcinoma
One of the commonest skin cancers in the UK is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). BCCs are usually painless and often appear as a scab that occasionally bleeds and doesn’t completely heal. Some look like a flat, pink, scaly mark and other are surrounded by a pearl-like rim. If this type of BCC is left for a long time, it can eventually erode the skin and cause an ulcer. Other basal cell carcinomas feel lumpy and have shiny nodules on them crossed by small but visible blood vessels.
An estimated 300,000 BBCs are treated every year in Britain and though this type does not spread to other organs, it can continue to grow locally so it’s important to get it treated as early as possible.
Learn more about basal cell carcinoma and the treatments we offer.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Less common than BCC, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a more dangerous form of skin cancer and often develops in areas that have been exposed to the sun. These areas include the neck, parts of the head and the back of the forearms and hands. SCCs initially don’t usually cause pain and normally look like a crusty or scaly area of skin with an inflamed, red base.
This type of skin cancer, if left, can spread. It grows faster than BCC so it’s important to get it diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Find out more about squamous cell carcinoma and how it is treated.
Melanoma is rarer than non-melanoma skin cancers, but it poses a greater threat as it can be much more aggressive. A melanoma usually presents as a new pigmented mole on the skin or changes in the appearance of an existing mole. It is essential to contact our dermatologists if you discover any changes or if any new moles appear.
View our malignant melanoma page for more information.
“ Skin cancer rates have been steadily on the rise over the past 30 years, it’s essential for people to check their skin regularly, making it a part of their routine. Early detection saves lives. ”
Skin examination and biopsy
During a process called dermatoscopy, our expert dermatologists will examine the affected area using a special instrument known as a dermatoscope, which enables us to monitor and observe the skin lesions closely. Although this is a helpful method for checking the progress of the lesion, it is insufficient for a full diagnosis. For this reason, we may biopsy the lesion, which will usually involve removing it entirely.
Skin cancer treatment
Experts at The Dermatology Clinic use a number of methods to treat skin cancer, depending on the type and stage. Skin cancer treatment methods include:
Surgically removing the cancerous tissue is straightforward and prevents any growth or spreading.
This involves destroying the cancer cells by exposing them to liquid nitrogen and used for cases of superficial BCC.
for early forms of skin cancer, our dermatologists might prescribe a cream to kill the abnormal cells in the skin
this uses a photosensitising agent alongside a special kind of light to destroy cancerous cells