Skin Cancer – General information

Most skin cancers are caused by long term exposure to the sun. There are two types of non-melanoma skin cancer, namely basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Non melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. If you find any new abnormalities on the skin that don’t go away after 4 to 6 weeks or existing ones that are getting bigger you should consultant a doctor to look at them.

Non melanoma skin cancer occurs most often on skin that is exposed to the sun. The symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer may be similar to symptoms of other non-cancerous skin conditions. But any area of skin that is damaged and does not heal up should be shown to your GP. It will help you to spot skin cancers early if you are aware of how your skin normally looks. That way, you will recognise any changes more easily. Remember to get your partner or someone else you trust to check your back or other areas that you can’t easily see.

Skin cancers can appear as

* A spot or sore that does not heal within 4 weeks

* A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab, crust or bleed for more than 4 weeks

* Areas where the skin has broken down or forms an ulcer with no obvious cause, and does not heal within 4 weeks.

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