Your skin and the sun - Know the facts this Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, with >100,000 new cases diagnosed each year, resulting in >2,500 deaths per year – equating to 7 deaths every day on average[1]. May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, offers the perfect chance to broaden your understanding of detection, diagnosis, and risk reduction of skin cancer. Firstly, it is important to note that there are several different types of skin cancer:
  • The most common skin cancer in humans is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), accounting for approximately 80% of all skin cancers. BCC affects the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis. These tend to be slow growing cancers, with low risk of metastasis, and high recovery rates[2].
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer in the UK, affecting cells in the outer layer of the skin. As with BCCs, SCCs are slow growing, with low risk of metastasis providing they are not left untreated for prolonged periods of time[3].
  • Malignant melanoma accounts for roughly 4% of all diagnosed skin cancers, and is sometimes referred to as “the most lethal form of skin cancer”, due to its capacity to rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. It affects the melanocytes (the cells that give skin its colour)[4]. Catching this type of cancer early is key to recovery.
  • Other, less common skin cancers, include: Merkel cell carcinoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and cutaneous lymphoma.
For all types of skin cancer, exposure to UV light is the major preventable risk factor. By frequently applying sun-cream and reducing sun exposure, the occurrence of skin cancer could be reduced. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50%[5]. It is crucial to be proactive and get suspicious moles and lesions checked to facilitate early diagnosis, and this is where Check4Cancer can help. Check4Cancer offers 2 skin cancer services available in 26 clinic locations nationwide:
  • SkinCheck: a complete skin examination, including detailed mole examination, for anyone concerned about new or growing moles. Patients receive their results within 5 days of being seen by our consultant skin specialist
  • OneStop: Once it has been established that a patient has a mole that needs to be removed, they are able to book an appointment at one of Check4Cancers OneStop clinics where the mole will be removed and sent to a pathologist for interpretation.
Catching cancer early often allows for more treatment options, and a better prognosis for recovery – the services offered by Check4Cancer facilitate detection and diagnosis to help patients on their way to treatment and recovery. Don’t wait, if you are concerned about a mole or lesion, talk to your GP or book a skin examination today.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]