When was the last time you had your skin checked?
Skin cancers are a common side effect of our outdoor, aussie lifestyle. Although they are more common from the age of 50, any one with a high number of pigmented lesions, a family history, history of repeated burns and exposure and/or fair skin should be checked yearly as a minimum – this may be more frequent if you have had skin cancers previously removed.
The main types of skin cancer are defined by the cell layer of the skin they grow from, which essentially what a cancer is – abnormal, unchecked cell growth.
BCCs (basal cell carcinoma) often appears as pink or pigmented pearlescent/shiny lesions or as a painless ulcer. They will sometimes have visible little blood vessels and are often slow growing. Although generally benign if left for a long time they can wrap themselves around blood vessels and nerves requiring radiation.
SCCs (squamous cell carcinoma) are often red, scaly and sore, often ulcer sting and becoming painful. Although less common than BCCs, these guys tend to grow faster and have a higher incidence of metastases.
Melanoma – the worst of the lot. Melanomas are notorious for metastasising, generally appearing as raised or flat pigmented lesions (though not always so). Thankfully they are the least common of the skin cancers and diagnosis does not necessarily spell disaster. Graded in accordance with the degree to which they have started to invade surrounding tissue, type 1 (stays in situ) is the most commonly found.
Vigilance and prevention is key to management of skin cancers.
The abcs of melanoma identification will serve you well, as will routine visits to the skin doctor for photography and examination. We recommend Dr Con Pappas or Dr Qays Al’Sheer at South Coast Skin Cancer Clinic . Until you book in, remember:
A- asymmetric border (one side of the lesion doesn’t match the other
B- border irregularity
C- colour variability and changes
D- diameter (large)
E- enlargement, elevation.
If you have a large number of pigmented lesions with no recent contact with a skin doctor we may decline to treat you for some therapies as light and laser modalities can alter the appearance of lesions making future detection more difficult.
Still not sure? Book with an Aescend artisan below.