Types of Skin Cancer:

Skin cancers usually belong to one of the 3 types described below:

  • basal cell carcinomaBasal Cell Carcinoma: These are slow-growing tumours that bleed and scab. They grow over a period of 3 months to a year and have a rolled edge These do not spread and can be cut out surgically. These continue to grow in the same place if not treated. Early Basal cell carcinomas may not need surgery. These do not need further treatment if removed completely. Basal cell carcinomas usually occur on the face, scalp, shoulders, back and legs.

    Surgical excision usually confers a cure for this condition. The surgical specimen is normally sent to the laboratory for analysis. Should the analysis show that adequate normal skin has not been cut out around the tumour, a further small excision may be necessary. In most basal cell carcinomas no further intervention is necessary. Large basal cell carcinomas may need the use of flaps or skin grafts to cover the area.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinomasquamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinomas are also slow-growing skin tumours that usually occur in the sun exposed areas of the face, shoulders, scalp, back and hands. They also occur on the legs. These are more invasive tumours and occasionally have a propensity to spread. These are usually cut out with wider margins of normal skin. They may need skin grafts or flaps to cover them. You may need scans and regular follow up to check for glands in the groin, armpit or neck following excision of a squamous cell carcinoma. Mr Khandwala will discuss any ongoing treatment with you and advise you about its necessity. Occasionally squamous carcinomas grow inside the mouth or on the tongue. The treatment of these tumours differs.
  • advanced melanomaMalignant Melanoma: These are usually pigmented tumours and can occur anywhere on the body. An excellent cure rate can be achieved by early excision. The prognosis is entirely dependant on the histology report which explains the stage of the tumour. Lesions are often excised with small margins of normal skin. A further wider excision is usually necessary if the laboratory report shows a malignant melanoma. A second excision may need flap cover or a skin graft. Follow up is usually required for five years. A Lymph node dissection (removal of lymph glands) may become necessary.

Signs of Skin Cancer      

It's a good idea to first learn where the birthmarks, moles, and other marks are in your body and their look and feel. The signs of skin cancer can be:

  • a new growth or sore that won't heal
  • an itchy spot, mole or sore
  • a bleeding mole or growth
  • a changing mole in size, colour, shape or feel
  • firm bump with flesh-colour

The ABCD Rule  

This guide helps identifying signs of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry: mole with two halves that look different
  • Border: irregular, blurred or jagged edges around the mole
  • Colour: mole with uneven colour with many shades
  • Diameter: mole with the diameter of more than 6mm

Examining Your Body

Skin cancer can develop on any part of the body.  With women, melanoma is most common to develop on the legs, and with men on the trunk. Take extra care when examining hard-to-see places by using a mirror or asking your partner to help checking. 

To examine your entire body carry out the following steps:

Head:

  • Face: nose, lips, mouth, front and back ears.
  • Scalp: check each section by using a blow dryer and a mirror.

Hands:

  • Hands and Forearms: palms, backs, between the fingers and under the fingernails. Wrists and both front and back of the forearms.
  • Elbow and Upper Arms: using a full-length mirror.

Upper Body:

  • Neck, Chest, and Torso: women to lift breasts to view the underside.
  • Back of the Neck, Shoulders, Upper Back and Part of the Upper Arms: using a full-length and a hand mirror.

Legs:

  • Lower Back, Buttocks and Backs of Legs: using both mirrors.
  • Sides and Front of Legs, Ankles, Feet (Between Toes, Soles and Heels) and Genitals: examine these body parts by sitting down and using a hand mirror.

Should you find anything suspicious and you are concerned about skin cancer seek for medical advice immediately by contacting Mr Khandwala. Also, you can find out more about skin cancer and treatment on our Skin Cancer Removal and Reconstruction page.

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Asit Khandwala - Cosmetic Surgeon

Find answers to the most common questions about cosmetic surgery on the Q&A page.

Alternatively, fill in the form send and enquiry to Mr Khandwala.

Asit Khandwala - Cosmetic Surgeon

Mr Khandwala is available in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the London area. Send a request for a consultation in person.

www.plasticsurgeon.org.uk     email: info@plasticsurgeon.org.uk    tel: 01342 776 463    fax: 01342 770 575