Skin cancer is a common form of cancer. There are three different types. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas often grow slowly and they can affect almost any part of the body. Most of the time they appear on the body parts that are normally exposed to the sun. Melanoma is the most severe type and it can develop fast.
Different Forms of Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer in New Zealand. It can show up as a red firm lump or a flat scaly spot. It can be itchy and it may bleed. It may have a pearly, smooth and/or waxy appearance. It can sometimes seem as if it is getting better, but it then fails to heal completely. Squamous cell carcinoma often appears on the face and the neck, on the arms or the lower legs, and on the scalp. It generally appears in places that have suffered sun damage in the past. The carcinoma can feel tender when you touch it, the skin can look raised, and it can appear scaly. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. It can spread fast, and it can start inside a mole you already have on your body. If you notice an unusual mole that looks asymmetrical, has an uneven color, changes shape or grows, itches or bleeds, it is a good idea to show it to a doctor or a dermatologist. If melanoma gets diagnosed in its early stages, full recovery is possible.
Causes of Skin Cancer
The main cause of all skin cancer types, including melanoma, is too much exposure to the sun. If you have had major sunburns in the past, if your skin is fair and if you burn easily in the sun, you may have a higher risk of getting skin cancer. The easiest way to prevent it is to protect yourself against the sun and to stay out of the sun during midday. Not all skin abnormalities are signs of skin cancer, but any abnormalities on the skin should be investigated if they do not go away in a month.