Early detection and treatment of skin cancer has been one of the most significant advances in surgery in the past decade. An average skin cancer patient has a “spot” that is changing. Sometimes it is a bump that won’t heal, a mole that changed colour or a sore that is bleeding. Other times it is a mole that is growing, bleeding, or itching.

Common skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Of all types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the most common. Fortunately, they tend to grow slowly and remain localised. They frequently appear on sun-exposed parts of the body. Common appearances of a basal cell include a fleshy bump with a pearly surface, a scar-like lesion or a bump that bleeds.

A more severe but less frequent type of skin cancer is known as squamous cell carcinoma. It frequently appears as a scaly, red patch or nodule that grows. Common locations include the nose, ears, hands and scalp (especially in men who have lost their hair). Early diagnosis and treatment is  key to preventing any skin cancer from growing into melanoma, which is a potentially fatal disease.

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