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Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. It is estimated that there are presently more than 70,000 newly diagnosed cases per year. Approximately 2,000 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK.
- Patches that change size, shape or colour over a period of time are a matter of concern, these areas are often itchy
Cancer Research UK suggests the following ABCD rule.
- A (Asymmetry): Check the two halves look the same
- B (Border): Check the edges of the mole are regular and smooth
- C (Colour): Check the colour is the same throughout the area
- D (Diameter): Check the size - larger than 6mm (size of a pencil rubber) should be reported
Any changes to the skin should be referred to a doctor immediately.
Types of skin cancer
Malignant melanoma is the most serious of skin cancers. This type of cancer mainly affects those in the 15 - 39 age group and appears to be more dominant in women than men. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important as it's possible that this cancer can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.
Non-malignant melanoma is the most common and easiest to treat skin cancer, an estimated 9 out of 10 skin cancers fall into this. This group of skin cancers can be further broken down to basal cell cancer and squamous cell carcinoma.
Basal Cell Cancers are most common and grows slowly as a lump which may be scaly or eczema like in presentation.
Squamous Cell Cancers are more serious and can spread to other areas of the body. This cancer initially presents as a persistent red, scaly spot, lump, sore or ulcer-type appearance which may easily bleed.
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