Each year we are all warned about the dangers of UVA rays and how important it is to protect ourselves from the damaging effects they have on our skin. Up to 90% of skin cancer could be prevented if we were more aware of sun safety issues.
In the UK, there are more than 100,000 new cases of “non-melanoma” skin cancer diagnosed every year and it affects more men than women.
Symptoms of non-melanoma cancer
The first, and most obvious, sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that continues to remain after a few weeks. This could be the cancer, or tumour and should be checked by your GP as soon as possible. While it’s unlikely to be skin cancer, it’s best to be sure.
What causes non-melanoma skin cancer?
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the main cause of non-melanoma skin cancer. UV light comes from the sun, as well as from artificial tanning sunbeds and sunlamps.
Deciding which treatment you need
A team of doctors and other professionals discuss the best treatment and care for you. They’re called a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and your treatment can depend on:
- the type of skin cancer
- how far it’s grown or spread
- where the cancer is
- the stage of the cancer (if relevant)
Your doctor will discuss your treatment, its benefits and the possible side effects with you.
The main treatment for skin cancer however, is surgery. For most people, surgery removes the cancer and is the only treatment they need. The surgery is usually minor. You’ll usually have an injection of local anaesthetic in the area and then the doctor removes the cancer and a small amount of the surrounding tissue.
It’s always best to ask your GP if you notice any abnormalities on your skin. It’s most likely to be nothing worth writing home about, however it’s always best to be safe.