16 Oct The Silent Killer: Melanoma : Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most common skin cancers; basal cell carcinomas are usually curable. Others such as melanoma and Squamous cell carcinoma are also potentially curable if diagnosed and treated early.
Melanoma Skin Cancer
Early intervention and treatment is vital with any kind of cancer. But while we’re all told to check the appearance of moles, skin cancer is still dubbed the ‘silent killer’.
While you might focus on the appearance of moles or relate moles to skin cancer. There are many more signs and symptoms that can be easily missed. The major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common and melanoma is the rarest but deadliest form of skin cancer.
Melanoma accounts for just 5 per cent of all skin cancers, however, melanoma is solely responsible for nearly all of the deaths from skin cancer.
Melanomas are less common than non-melanoma skin cancers, but they are by far the most dangerous. They can develop from existing moles, but they more frequently appear as new marks on the skin and can appear anywhere on the body.
Although we’re often told to check moles, in adults, around 70% of melanoma cases are not associated with pre-existing moles. This makes spotting the early signs a little more difficult and often leads to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Spotting other signs and symptoms
While it’s still very important to look for changes in moles, it’s also important to understand your skin in general.
Many of the signs and symptoms will develop over a period of time. This means you’re less likely to notice or be overly concerned about a possible sign or symptom until it is too late.
If you have a mole that bleeds or gets irritated easily, it’s important your dermatologist or doctor takes a look.
Many men and women may have a small amount of blood after shaving. While little nips can cause this, if you find yourself bleeding after shaving, particularly in the same spot, this can be a warning sign.
As skin cancer leaves the skin feeling a bit more fragile than usual, shaving could result in one spot bleeding on a regular basis. While many will put it down to clumsiness or a bad razor, if it persists, be sure to see a medical professional.
Some people could spend their life avoiding the sun and still get skin cancer. About 1 in 10 people who receive a diagnosis of melanoma generally have a family member with a history of melanoma.
Familial malignant melanoma refers to families in which two or more first-degree relatives such as parents, siblings or children have melanoma. Familial malignant melanoma increases the chances of developing melanoma by 50 per cent.
Pimples and spots
Monitoring your moles over a period of time is good practice, but so is observing any new blemishes or spots.
Spots usually come and go, but if you notice one that doesn’t disappear or changes in appearance (evolves), then it’s important to have your doctor take a look.
Basal Cell Carcinomas have a similar appearance to a pimple. They may look like a translucent, skin coloured or a pink pimple that does not disappear or recurs in the same spot.
When to see a doctor
As with all the advice around, if you have a mole that changes colour, evolves or changes in appearance. Then it’s important to get it checked out.
However, it’s not just moles you should be observing. With any new skin markings, spots or pimples, if they do not go away on their own after a few weeks, please have it evaluated by a dermatologist or your doctor.
Understanding and regularly checking your skin will help you spot any changes or new developments. This will help you catch any skin cancer early and receive the treatment you need quickly.
Almost everyone has moles and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether a mole has changed or whether a mark on your skin is new. This is a particular problem for skin sites that are hard to keep an eye on, such as your back.
At Everything Skin Clinic™, we provide a state of the art computer-assisted mole mapping service for complete peace of mind! This is particularly useful for people who are known to have an increased risk of the development of malignant melanoma.