There are two types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
The most serious type of skin cancer. In most cases, it is caused by over-exposure to UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds.
If untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body and it can be fatal. It accounts for most of the deaths caused by skin cancer.
The earlier melanoma is detected and treated, the better the chances of a good outcome.
NON-MELANOMA SKIN CANCER
Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is much more common and more easily treatable. The two forms of NMSC are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
BASAL CELL CANCER is more common and usually grows quite slowly and often starts as a small round or flattened lump. The lump may be red, pale or pearly in colour. Sometimes it appears as a scaly, eczema-like patch on the skin.
SQUAMOUS CELL CANCER is more serious and if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body. It can appear as persistent red scaly spots, lumps, sores or ulcers, which may bleed easily.
Skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body, with certain areas being more common than others.
Malignant melanoma usually develops in the outer layer of skin. It appears most commonly on women's legs and men's torsos.
Areas of the body that are usually covered but every so often get exposed to intense bursts of UV radiation while sunbathing or on a sunbed are at risk.
Non-melanoma skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body, and commonly appears on parts of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the head and neck (including lips and ears) and the backs of the hands.
Squamous cell cancer can also crop up where the skin has been damaged by X-rays, and also on old scars, ulcers, burns and persistent chronic wounds.