As the video mentions, the sun can burn, or age our skin, more importantly, over exposure can be responsible for the onset of almost all types of skin cancer.
There is in a sense an infinite range of skin cancers, each person is unique and affected in different ways. We still appreciate that you may wish to understand the main conditions and related skin cancer treatment.
Talking to a consultant can be a useful step, they will offer all the time you need and informed views. The outlines below should still help.
Actinic Keratosis (AK)
Actinic Keratosis is an early stage in the development of skin cancer. This commonly shows as small, scaly areas on your face, ears, neck, forearms, scalp, or the back of your hands.
The cause is normally sun damage and the condition is much more frequent in fair skinned people. Not exclusively so, a range of people can be affected.
AK can be treated with lasers, cryosurgery (freezing), photodynamic therapy, or topical chemotherapy (using a cream). Surgical excision may be needed but is often minor, essentially scraping away.
Bowen’s Disease (In Situ SCC)
Bowen’s disease, or intraepidermal squamous cell carcinoma, is a growth of cancerous cells confined to the outer layer of the skin. Often a red patch of skin, a non-healing ulcer, or a red scaly patch.
The condition is again more common in fair skinned people. In Situ SCC is not a serious condition but can be damaging to the body, if not diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms may appear similar to other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, a biopsy could be needed to confirm diagnosis. Treatment is normally non invasive, creams, cryosurgery, laser surgery, or photodynamic therapy.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for 80% of cases. This commonly appears as non-healing, fleshy bumps, like a small pearl, or similar nodules, once again on areas exposed to sunlight.
BCCs rarely spread but need to be treated correctly, to prevent them recurring. Not out of the question they could come back at some time, although modern treatment techniques offer a high cure rate.
Simple surgical excision, under local anaesthetic, is often a solution. Anti cancer creams, or photodynamic therapy are options, with Mohs surgery very effective for high risk cases.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Common SCC is a non melanoma skin cancer and the second most prevalent type in the UK. Non melanoma skin cancers affect the outer layers of the skin, the epidermis.
The condition is less aggressive than melanoma, although can develop into invasive SCC. This is where cancer cells grow into the deeper layers of the skin, the dermis and may cause serious damage.
Treatment is still effective and straightforward. Simple, wide surgical excision under local anaesthetic, or Mohs surgery, accompanied by radiotherapy in a few cases. Anti cancer creams, or photodynamic therapy are not normally effective.
A potentially serious type of skin cancer and on the increase. Skin cells called melanocytes, which produce the skin’s pigment, multiply in an abnormal way and can cause the formation of tumours.
Malanocytes also produces normal moles, or freckles but if you are in an at risk category, we would recommend mole mapping to monitor any changes. A malignant melanoma can penetrate all layers of the skin and spread to other organs in the body.
Melanoma is more common in white skinned people but may develop in those with dark skin. The condition rarely affects children, age is a factor, along with family history and previous incidences of less aggressive cancer.
In most cases, surgical treatment is the solution, from minor under local anaesthetic, to deeper intervention. Skin cancer treatment success rates are remarkably high, although early diagnosis helps. If you are concerned, please seek professional advice.