Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Two in three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. Melanoma is the third most common cancer and skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.
At Ministry of Skin Australia we provide a service that aims to identify skin cancers early to ensure best possible outcomes through skin checks, monitoring, biopsies and treatments of any suspicious lesions.
We also aim to help you understand how to prevent skin cancers and identify lesions you should get checked. We aim to look after your skin for your lifetime.
Ministry of Skin is a RACGP accredited clinic.
There is a lot written and said about skin cancers, from a medical point of view we’d like to go into little more detail about the three main types of skin cancers:
- Melanoma: The most dangerous
- Basal Cell Cancer (BCC)
- Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC)
BCC and SCC are also known as Non Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) and are the most common type of skin cancer.
Where do skin cancers develop?
Basal cell and Squamous cell cancers are most commonly found on sun exposed areas of skin such as the face, ears, scalp, hands and forearms.
Melanomas however can develop on any skin surface and are often found on non sun exposed areas of skin such as the inner arm or buttock. In men they are commonest on the head or neck. In women they are commonest on the lower leg.
Melanomas are rare in people with dark skin. If they do develop in people with dark skin, they are usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.
Melanomas are the most aggressive type of skin cancer. 75% of melanomas arise from normal skin but because they initially resemble a mole, we are trained to look for new moles or changes in moles. But of course being a cancer, melanomas grow in size and shape, whereas normal moles do not grow or alter. Melanomas grow in a disorganised way, which is why we are trained to look for unusual changes.
Basal cell cancers grow slowly, invading and damaging the skin around them. The risk of them spreading to distant areas is low and they are less likely to be fatal. They usually arise in sun exposed areas as a painless, raised, red area of skin, with small vessels running over it and a central ulcer that doesn’t seem to heal. Or it may be flat, red and scaley, almost like a patch of eczema. Therefore any non healing sores should be checked by a doctor.
Squamous cell cancers can grow slowly or rapidly. These can spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal, but are less aggressive than melanomas. They usually presents as a hard lump with a scaly top that can grow to form a horn. They can also be painful to touch.