Skin lesions include moles or naevi, vascular malformations and haemangiomas (birthmarks), and giant congenital naevi. Surgery may consist of simple excision and closure or more advanced reconstruction including serial excision, tissue expansion, grafting or flap repair.
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and Queensland has the highest rates within Australia.
Benign Skin Conditions
Also known as sunspots. These are red, scaly areas that occur in sun exposed areas. Although benign, these can occasionally progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The presence of a solar keratosis is an indication that the skin is badly damaged and should be monitored for the development of further skin lesions.
This is a rapidly growing tumour that looks very similar to an SCC. The only definite way to determine it is not an SCC is to look at it under a microscope. A KA does not spread around the body, but may occasionally recur locally.
Non Melanotic Skin Cancer
There are 2 types of this form of cancer : basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
This forms about 75% of skin cancer. It typically grows slowly over a period of weeks to months. If left untreated it forms a non – healing ulcer. It was originally known as a “rodent” ulcer as it slowly gnaws away at adjacent tissues and structures. It rarely spreads to other regions.
BCC usually occurs on sun exposed areas as a small round lump or an ulcer. It is usually red or pale and pearly in colour. Small blood vessels may be noticeable on its surface.
SCC is more rapidly growing than BCC. It is associated with prolonged exposure to sunlight. SCC is potentially more serious than BCC as it has a risk of spreading to other parts of the body.
SCC looks like a red, scaly spot. It can bleed easily and may ulcerate.
Melanoma can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. Only about 1 in 20 people with skin cancer will have a melanoma.
About half of melanomas develop in existing moles, the other half develop as a new lesion. Melanomas can form on any part of the body, including areas that are not exposed to the sun.
Prevention of Skin Cancer
The following may help reduce the chance of further skin cancers :
- Avoidance of the sun between 10am and 3pm, when it is at its most intense.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat
- Wear UV protection sunglasses
- Wear a long sleeved top or shirt, and long pants, both of tightly woven cotton.
- Use an SPF 30 sunscreen. Apply a thick layer, and apply regularly particularly if swimming.
- Wear protective swimwear
- Avoid tanning booths.
The symptoms of itch or bleeding are very suggestive of melanoma.
The signs that a mole may be developing into a melanoma are :
Asymmetry or a highly irregular shape
Borders. A melanoma tends to have an irregular, ragged edge
Colour – melanomas tend to have different shades of brown and occasionally blue and black
Diameter More than 6 mm is suspicious of a melanoma
Suspicious Looking Spots
Ensure any suspicious or unusual looking skin spots are checked. Look out for :
A new spot that looks different to the surrounding spots,
A sore that does not heal,
A mole, spot or freckle that has changed in size, shape or colour or one that itches or bleeds.
Please contact Dr. Belt’s team for more detailed information and advice about your specific condition. Dr Belt is happy to conduct a telephone consultation with you prior to your appointment.
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