There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma.
When detected early, skin cancer is highly treatable. However, if left untreated, skin cancer can spread and become life threatening. This is one of the main reasons why getting to know your skin and regular skin checks are essential.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in the world. It accounts for around 70% of non-melanoma skin cancers. It usually begins in the lower layer of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin).
It can appear anywhere on the body but usually develops on areas which have received high or intermittent sun exposure.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. It accounts for about 30% of non-melanoma skin cancers. It usually begins in the upper layer of the epidermis and also tends to be prevalent on areas which have received significant amounts of sun exposure, such as the face, ears, neck, arms, shoulders and back.
This type of skin cancer is more dangerous than BCC because it has the ability to spread to other parts of the body. SCC generally grows quickly over months and sometimes weeks.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It can spread very quickly. Once it has penetrated below the surface of the skin it can become life threatening.
If detected early, the survival rate is high. This is largely dependent on the thickness (depth) of the melanoma.
According to medical research, if a person has a melanoma of less than 0.75mm thick, they can expect to have a 95% cure rate. If left untreated and larger than 4mm thick, the cure rate is less than 55%.
Cancer Australia estimates that in 2018 over 14,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma and it accounts for 75% of skin cancer deaths in the country. Early diagnosis and using regular preventative measures are key.
How to diagnose skin cancers and melanomas
When looking at the skin, it is very hard for the untrained eye to know what to look out for and which lesions may be cancerous. We encourage our community to get to know their skin and look for any changes.
If you notice a spot or mole which doesn't look right or bleeds and doesn't heal, make sure to visit a dermatologist or skin doctor. Being aware of the ABCDEFG rule and knowing what to look out for, is also encouraged.
Medical experts recommend wearing UPF50+ sun protective clothing as the best way to protect large areas of exposed skin.
At Solbari, we develop the best sun protective clothing, sun hats and accessories with a UPF50+ rating from the Australian Government to keep your skin healthy during your everyday outdoor activities.
The SOLBARI Team
This blog post is for information purpose only.