Skin Cancer Treatment

What is skin cancer?

sunblock on skin with a heart drawn in it

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells of the skin. A common form of cancer, its main cause is overexposure to the ultraviolet rays present in sunlight. There are three major types of skin cancers treated by dermatologists: basal cell carcinoma, squamaous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

woman cleaning her face in bathroom

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to contact your dermatologist for a professional opinion:

  • A shiny, pink, or translucent bump on the skin.
  • Pink lesions with raised borders.
  • A raised, itchy patch of skin.
  • A white or yellow patch of skin that may resemble a scar.
  • An open sore that persists for several weeks.
  • A wart-like growth.
  • A scaly, red patch of skin that bleeds easily.
  • A raised growth, indented in the middle.
  • If you notice a mole or freckle that has changed in appearance.

What are the causes of and risk factors for skin cancer?

The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light which is produced by the sun. Genetics and skin type are also contributing factors.

The most significant risk factor for skin cancer is overexposure to the sun or indoor tanning methods. In particular, if you have a history of sunburn especially at an early age.

However, you may also be at risk if you have any of the following attributes: fairer skin, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, and/or a large number of moles. A family history of cancer may also contribute to your risk of skin cancer.

Enquire with our dermatologists.

Did you know?

A new handheld scanner is being used to aid in the accurate surgical removal of non-melanoma skin cancers.¹

What are the possible complications of skin cancer?

woman smiling at camera

If left untreated, skin cancers can grow and become disfiguring. They can also spread to other parts of the body.

Make an enquiry with a dermatologist online.

When should I see a specialist for skin cancer?

As in the case of all suspected cancers, early detection is crucial for a positive prognosis. If you have any doubts about a skin growth or a change in appearance of a mole or freckle, it is recommended to visit your dermatologist. Monitor your skin yourself, especially if you are at risk, and do a thorough personal skin check every three months. Yearly skin checks with your dermatologist are also recommended.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Be prepared to discuss your medical history, as well as your family’s. It is important to share details of previously removed lesions or skin cancers and to have a list of your current medications and vitamins. Make sure your skin is clean and the area you would like to be examined is not covered by make-up. Remember to prepare any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss with your dermatologist.

How do specialists diagnose skin cancer?

Your dermatologist will conduct a thorough examination of the site of the potential skin cancer, noting the size, shape, colour, and texture of the lesion (as well as any bleeding or scaling). A dermascope (magnifying lens) may be used. Your dermatologist may also decide to perform a skin biopsy in order to confirm the diagnosis.

What treatments are available for skin cancer?

Following diagnosis, your dermatologist will offer you a personalised treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. Most skin cancers can be removed during a consultation with your dermatologist. For more aggressive or serious cases, such as melanoma, further treatment such as surgery and chemotherapy may be necessary.

Request an appointment with a dermatologist today.

[1] Attia ABE, Chuah SY, Razansky D, et al. Noninvasive real-time characterization of non-melanoma skin cancers with handheld optoacoustic probes. Photoacoustics. 2017;7:20-26. doi:10.1016/j.pacs.2017.05.003.