Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin. It is one of the most common types of cancer.
There is also another type of skin cancer called melanoma, which is more rare.
Have you been diagnosed with skin
or any other kind of cancer?
We need to keep an eye out for lumps and discoloured patches on the skin that persist after a few weeks and slowely progress.
The lumps are usually red and firm. They sometimes turn into ulcers. The cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.
Pay close attention to the areas regularly exposed to the sun such as face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back.
If you notice changes such as a lump, ulcer, lesion, discolouration, etc. on your skin that has been there for 4 weeks or more please see your GP.
Did you know that most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA in skin cells? The main source of UV light is of course sunlight, but artificial sources such as sunlamps and tanning beds, also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Repeated sunburn affects your risk so remember to use sun cream with high SPF, seek shade especially between 10 AM and 4 PM, cover up with clothing, wide brim hat and sunglasses that block UV.
You might also be at risk if you..
+ Have pale skin that does not tan easily
+ Have blonde or red hair and/or blue eyes
+ Are older as the risk increases with age
+ Have a large number of moles and/or freckles
+ Have an area of skin that was damaged by burning or radiotherapy
+ Have a pre-existing condition that might affect your immune system such as HIV or take medicines that might supress it
+ Have been exposed to dangerous chemicals
+ Had previous skin cancer diagnosis
Surgery is the main treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer, although it may depend on your individual circumstances. There are also non-surogical treatments such as freezing and radiotherapy that are beneficial in some cases.
NHS advises that treatment is successful for at least 9 out of 10 people with non-melanoma skin cancer.
Your specialist care team will explain and discuss every step of the process. Please remember that you are not alone and there is always help available.
Apart from your team of specialists there are also many charities and support groups dedicated to helping you navigate through your cancer journey. We as Sam's Diamonds provide social media as well as in person support, information, meet-ups and much more! Click here to become a Diamond.