Skin Cancer Birmingham based treatments
There are two different types of Skin Cancer:
1. Non Melanoma Skin Cancer / 2. Melanoma Skin Cancer
Within non melanoma skin cancers, the most common ones are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma - aka “Rodent Ulcer” it is a slow growing, sometimes shiny or “pearly” looking lesion , which often does not give any symptoms and though it can grow where it is it does to spread to other parts of the body. It may bleed easily after minor trauma.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is most commonly a more rapidly growing lesion , and might be ulcerated , tender, hard and firm . 5% of these skin cancers can spread elsewhere in the body.
Melanomas - These are most often pigmented ( dark coloured) and may or may not arise from an existing mole.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma may include:
Change in the: size, shape ( especially getting an irregular edge), colour, symmetry of a mole
Bleeding, crusting or an inflamed appearance from a mole
A mole that looks different from your other moles or feels itchy, hard, bumpy, swollen, or tender to the touch.
Because most melanoma cells produce melanin ( a dark pigment) melanoma tumors are often brown or black in colour. However, they can also be flesh-colored, bluish, or pink in nature. Melanoma can also appear on the body as a “new” mole or pigmented lesion. It can spread to other parts of the body through the lymph system, or through the bloodstream and is best treated when it is diagnosed early. For this reason consulting your doctor early if you have any concerns is of paramount importance.
Distinguishing Benign Moles from Pigmented Lesion & Melanoma
To detect melanoma early, it is important to examine your skin on a regular basis, and become familiar with your moles and other skin lesions, in order to notice if any changes occur. Certain types of moles (also called nevi) may be at higher risk for changing into malignant melanoma. Moles that are present at birth (congenital nevi, particularly when large in size), and atypical moles (dysplastic nevi), may have a greater chance of becoming malignant.
However, most melanomas do not arise from a pre-existing mole (common, congenital or dysplastic types), and so removing many benign appearing moles en mass is not necessary. Recognising changes in your moles, by following something called the ABCDE Chart, is helpful in detecting melanoma at its earlier, more curable stages. It is important to understand that “E” stands for an evolving lesion i.e. one that is different in appearance compared to other moles or changing in size, shape, or color, over time.
The clinical ABCD warning signs are: Normal Mole / Melanoma Sign A, B, C, D, E Characteristic
Asymmetry - When half of the mole does not match the other half
Border - When the border (edges) of the mole are ragged or irregular
Colour - When the colour of the mole varies (multiple shades of brown, black, white, red or blue)
Diameter - If the mole’s diameter is larger than a pencil eraser (generally 5-6 mm in diameter)
Evolving - A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color
As melanoma is widely variable, some melanomas may show all of the ABCDE characteristics, while others may show few or even none of these. A lesion that looks odd or nothing like any other moles should also raise suspicion. To be safe if you are not sure if a lesion is anything to worry about consult your doctor promptly.