Skin cancer is best treated earlier – as with most types of diseases. Non-melanoma is more prevalent throughout the world. What’s the sign you have it?
The NHS explains that non-melanoma “slowly develops in the upper layers of the skin”.
Typically, the first warning sign of this type of cancer is the presence of a “lump or patch on the skin that doesn’t heal after a few weeks”.
Specifically, it is concerning if the lump or patch hasn’t healed after four weeks.
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In the majority of cases, cancerous lumps on the skin are red and firm.
And a cancerous patch on the skin is often flat and scaly.
There are two main types of non-melanoma skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
The names of each type of non-melanoma skin cancer is named depending on which type of skin cell the cancer began in.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
BCC accounts for 75 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers, and is a lot more prevalent than SCC.
BCC starts in the cells lining the bottom of the epidermis, and turns into a cancerous lump or patch.
Usually a small red or pink lump, it can also appear as pearly-white or waxy looking.
The lump grows slowly and, over time, may become crusty, bleed or develop a painless ulcer.
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Alternatively, BCC can also look like a red, scaly patch.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
SCC accounts for 20 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers, and it starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis.
SCC appears as a firm pink lump, which may have a flat, scaly and crusty surface.
Often tender to touch, the lump can bleed easily and may develop into an ulcer.
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The culprit of non-melanoma cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet light from the sun.
Sunlight contains three types of UV light: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC).
UVC is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, leaving UVA and UVB to land on exposed skin.
Both UVA and UVB damage the DNA in skin cells over time, and the NHS states UVB is thought to be the main cause of non-melanoma.
Non-melanoma cancers usually appear in areas regularly exposed to the sun.
Common sites of the cancerous tumour to appear include on the face, ears, hands and shoulders.
However, another major risk factor for developing non-melanoma skin cancers is using sunlamps and tanning beds.
As is being of a fair complexion, or having lots of freckles and moles on the body.
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