It is well known that skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, and the rates continue to rise. Unsurprisingly, skin cancers make up a significant proportion of my work. As part of the multidisciplinary skin cancer team, I look after simple and complex skin cancers. Most skin cancers are very responsive to treatment and benefit from early detection and management.
As a Skin Cancer Specialist, the types of skin cancers I diagnose include:
- Basal cell carcinoma (or ‘rodent’ skin cancers) – ‘pearly’ or skin-coloured lesions that occur over years and can scab or ulcerate
- Squamous cell carcinoma – skin lesions that can have a cratered or ‘horn-like’ central area and are growing over months
- Melanoma – pigmented lesions (or ‘moles’) that have new persistent changes (e.g. larger, darker, bumpy, bleeding or itching)
- Rare cancers (e.g. cutaneous T cell lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma)
I also offer mole checks and photography for both adults and children as part of mole monitoring.
Skin can also show signs of sun damage well before developing skin cancer. Studies have shown that early treatment of sun damage can prevent it from becoming a skin cancer. Pre-skin cancerous skin conditions I treat include:
- Actinic keratoses – rough, inflamed, flaking patches of skin, usually in sun-exposed areas
- Bowens Disease (or squamous cell carcinoma in-situ) – larger rough patches of skin that are persistent, typically on lower legs
The treatments I offer for pre-skin cancer and skin cancerous lesions include:
- Excision (surgical removal is usually the ‘gold standard’ for managing skin cancers)
- Curettage (a surgical technique used to remove superficial and non-serious skin cancers)
- Cryotherapy (or liquid nitrogen) – can be used for very early skin cancers or pre-skin cancers
- Creams containing fluororacil or imiquimod – remove sun damaged cells that can lead to skin cancers
Patients have different needs and I am very happy to be able to discuss which treatment options are best for you.
Patient information leaflets are available via the British Association of Dermatologists