Australia has a staggering rate of skin cancer with approximately 2 in 3 Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
Further to this, more than 750,000 people are treated for 1 or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year.
Anyone can be at risk of developing skin cancer, although your risk increases with age and overexposure to sunlight.
A “cancer” diagnosis applies to a large spectrum of diseases. The severity and type of treatment necessary are not the same. If detected and treated early, skin cancer can be curable.
What are the different types of skin cancer?
There are three main types of skin cancer, which include the following:
1. Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for up to 70% of non-melanoma skin cancers. This type is commonly found on areas of the body with high sun exposure, such as the face, neck, shoulders and back. This form of skin cancer develops on the top, outer layer of the skin.
2. SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
This form of skin cancer develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin. As the second most common type of skin cancer, SCC is commonly found on the ears, backs of hands and limbs.
If Melanoma is not treated early, the cancer can quickly advance and spread to other parts of the body. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.
How can I detect skin cancer?
If you think you may have symptoms of skin cancer, we strongly advise you to visit your GP for an assessment. If they detect a potentially cancerous skin lesion, a biopsy may be undertaken to confirm and diagnose the type of skin cancer.
Some skin cancer symptoms to look out for are:
- Persistent red or pale areas on the skin
- Lumps on the skin
- Change in size, shape, or colour of moles
- A spot, which regularly bleeds
- New moles or freckles which have changed in appearance or bleed
- Crusty, scaly, non-healing sores
I have been advised I have a form of skin cancer? What next?
If your GP has identified a skin lesion to be cancerous, they will refer you to a plastic surgeon if surgical treatment is necessary.
The pathology results will be compassionately discussed with you at your appointment with Dr Reddy during your initial consultation. Together, he will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan to best remove the cancer.
Surgical skin cancer removal
Surgical skin cancer treatment will be based on the type of cancer, the growth stage and location on your body. Typically, surgery will involve removing the cancer and restoring the wound with the following methods:
This involves moving skin tissue over to either fill a defect or to achieve a better cosmetic outcome.
This involves transferring skin from another location to fill the defect. This procedure may require a more thorough post-operative care and longer recovery process.
Surgery may be performed under local anaesthesia, depending on the size and site of the lesion. For more complex surgery, a general anaesthetic will be required.