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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It is most often found on skin exposed to the sun although it may also form on areas that rarely see light.  Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, and may present differently in women and men.

There are several different types of skin cancer. Three major types are described below.

Symptoms – Basal cell carcinoma 

  • Usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck or face, and appears as:
    • A pearly or waxy bump
    • A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion

SkinCancerSymptoms – Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Usually occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, ears and hands. More prevalent in people with darker skin and on areas that aren’t often exposed to sun, such as the legs and feet. It appears as:
    • A firm, red nodule
    • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface

Symptoms – Melanoma

  • Can develop on normal skin anywhere on your body, or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous; affect people of any skin tone.
  • In Men, it often appears on the trunk, head or neck
    In Women, it often appears on lower legs
  • In people with darker skin tones, it may occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails.
  • It appears as:
    • A large brownish spot with darker speckles
    • A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds
    • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black
    • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus 

Treatment:

Pre cancerous lesions can be treated  with Photodynamic Therapy.

Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages, and early detection gives you the best chance for a successful treatment.

For more information, please visit our Resources page.

Prevention:

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to limit or avoid exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The Derm Centre has a wealth of information on Sun Safety. Please visit our Resources page for information on how best to protect you and your family.