Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer happens when skin cells change into abnormal cells and grow at an uncontrolled rate.
There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer and the number of cases for both is increasing worldwide.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer in the cells that produce pigment – called melanocytes.
Melanoma is linked to sun exposure. But it can also affect areas of the body that aren’t often exposed to sun. In very rare cases, it affects the skin lining the nose, mouth and genitals
When melanoma cancer cells grow, a mark appears on the skin. It’s often brown or black in colour
Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, bone, lung, liver and brain. When cancer spreads it is known as ‘metastatic’ or secondary cancer
What are non-melanoma skin cancers?
Non-melanoma skin cancers develop among cells in the upper layers of the skin. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
Non-melanoma skin cancer can occur anywhere on the skin, though it’s most commonly found on parts of the body that have experienced long-term sun exposure – like the head, face, neck, arms, legs and back of the hands. Learn more about radiation therapy treatment options for non-melanoma skin cancer at GenesisCare.
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What are basal cell carcinomas?
Basal cell carcinomas usually stay in one place. However, they can sometimes spread to other nearby areas. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to lymph nodes or other sites in the body.
What are squamous cell carcinomas?
Squamous cell carcinomas usually stay in one place. However, they can sometimes spread to other nearby areas. Some high-risk squamous cell carcinomas have the potential to spread to lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.
Types of skin cancer
Malignant melanoma is skin cancer. It develops from cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes make melanin, which gives skin its colour. Melanin also protects us from ultraviolet (UV) radiation which causes sunburn.
There are two main types of skin cancer – non-malignant melanoma and melanoma – along with some much rarer types. Non-malignant melanoma is more common, and it’s much less likely to spread.
Ways we treat skin cancer
We use the latest treatment techniques to treat skin cancer without the use of surgery or general anaesthetic. Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.
Find out how we treat non-melanoma skin cancer with radiation therapy.