Understanding lesser known types of skin cancer

UV exposure can cause skin cancerSkin cancer is broadly understood by most of us but there are different types of skin cancer to be aware of. Most of us have heard that skin cancer can be linked with moles and abnormalities in skin pigmentation, but there are lesser known types that we would all benefit from a greater awareness of.


This is a serious type of skin cancer and one that a lot of people will have heard of as it is thought that the sun’s UV rays play a role in its formation. It forms in the pigment cells in the skin and can spread to different parts of the body. The most common way this type of cancer is detected is if a new mole appears or if an existing mole changes shape or colour. These moles can change or appear anywhere on the body, but are most frequently found on the back, face, arms or legs.

Basal cell carcinoma

This type of skin cancer manifests itself differently from melanomas, as it forms in a different part of the skin. As the name suggests, this type of cancer forms in the skin’s basal cells which are found in the deepest layer of the outer skin.

Basal cell carcinoma is detected when sores appear on the surface of the skin. These can be angry red spots or shiny lumps or can occur on existing scars. This is the most frequently occurring type of skin cancer. Although this is common, it is also relatively easy to treat as it rarely spreads from the skin to other organs within the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma

This is one of the “non-melanoma” skin cancers, and according to research by the British Skin Foundation is the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. This is another type that is linked with too much exposure to UV rays from the sun or overuse of sun-beds.

Squamous cell carcinoma can appear anywhere on the body but is most typically found in areas that are often exposed directly to the sun (for example, face, arms, neck). Visually, this type of cancer looks like a crusty patch of skin, often with a red, inflamed base.

Taking steps to avoid future problems with skin cancer

If you are concerned about any patch of skin that looks or feels different then it is important to act fast and to consult your GP. Many people will take preventative steps to remove moles before they develop abnormities such as skin cancers. To explore the options for this, contact Mr Alan Park to discuss what can be done.

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