These account for the majority of skin cancers in Australia. Many are metastatic (travel to other organs) some are not. All are ‘cancers’ and grow and cause surrounding tissue destruction. Detecting these cancers early, makes for less tissue damage by the cancer and the surgery that may be required to contain it. Non melanoma skin cancers are usually either Basal Cell Carcinomas or Squamous Cell Carcinomas.
All melanomas are ‘malignant’. Because melanomas have a high propensity to metastasise early (to ‘seed’ – to travel to distant organs and grow there), they have a high mortality rate. Early detection is the best form of intervention.
Exposure to sunlight is the principal factor responsible for the mutations in the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the skin, which gives rise to melanoma. However other factors play a role. These include genetic predisposition, immune system factors and likely other less well understood causes like chemicals, diet, stress and more.
Our doctors use a variety of diagnostic techniques to detect skin cancers.
The public- you – should look for any changes in their skin spots or moles. Especially concerning are: