Skin cancer

Skin cancer happens when skin cells change into abnormal cells and grow at an uncontrolled rate

 

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.
 

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.

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There are two main types of skin cancer – non-melanoma and melanoma – along with some much rarer types. Non-melanoma is more common, and it’s much less likely to spread.

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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-melanoma and melanoma – along with some much rarer types. Non-melanoma is more common, and it’s much less likely to spread.

Jim's battle with skin cancer

Treatments we cover

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.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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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.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton, West Midlands, Coldfield B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Cancer Centre, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Notthingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Southampton Centre, Chalybeate Close (off Tremona Road), Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamShire, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HD

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