The term skin cancer usually refers to non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) as compared to melanoma cancer which is also a malignant growth originating in the skin.
Types of Skin Cancer
The two most common forms are Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). Both these tumours are related to cumulative sun exposure and most commonly present in an older population with a life-time’s history of sun exposure. With more of us spending an increasing amount of time outdoors and taking holidays abroad we are now seeing these tumours in patients in their 20's and 30's. Outdoor workers and people with fair complexions are particularly at risk.
Treatment of Skin Cancer
Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) presents as either a skin coloured lump, a scaling lesion, an erosion that will not heal or an ulcerated lesion. Any such lesion requires immediate assessment by a medical practitioner. Dermatologists are specifically trained to diagnose such lesions by looking at them and if there is any doubt by performing a biopsy.
A Dermatologist has a number of treatment options available to them which includes the use of special creams to kill the cancer cells, scraping the lesion away to the appropriate depth, cutting the lesion out, freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen, using photodynamic therapy, carbon dioxide laser or occasionally radiotherapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the tumour type and the personal preference of the patient.