This section deals with the three common types of skin cancer:
basal cell carcinoma (also called rodent ulcer)
squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a cancer of the cells at the bottom of the skin. It is very common and accounts for more than 75% of all skin cancers in the UK. Most BCCs are very slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body. They often start as a small, red, shiny spot or nodule that may bleed occasionally. Eventually they may develop into an ulcer that doesn’t heal. When BCCs are treated at an early stage, most of the time they are completely cured.
Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a cancer of the cells found in the outermost layer of the skin. It is the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. One in five skin cancers (20%) are this type. Usually squamous cell carcinomas are slow-growing and only spread to other parts of the body if they are left untreated for a long time. Occasionally though, they can behave more aggressively and spread at a relatively early stage. However, most people treated for SCC are completely cured with simple treatment.
Malignant melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer than the two other types mentioned above. Melanoma behaves differently to basal cell and squamous cell cancers. It can grow quickly and needs to be treated early.
There are a number of other rare types of cancer that can occur in the skin:
These make up less than 1 in 100 (1%) of all skin cancers in the UK.
Bowen’s disease is a precancerous skin condition caused by abnormal cells growing in the epidermis. These cells are not invasive or malignant (cancerous). If left untreated, Bowen’s disease may develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
We are a small cosmetic treatments team offering highly advanced levels of service. At our private clinics you can receive treatment in total confidence.
Your skin cancer treatment will be carried out expertly by one of our skilled medical practitioners.
Our cosmetic surgeons Mr Sudip Ghosh and Mr Alan Park are highly experienced both in the NHS and private sector so rest assured your health is in the safest of hands.
They will be happy to answer any of your questions about the risks and benefits of skin cancer treatment and discuss appropriate treatment options.
Skin cancer treatment clinics
Mole removal treatments are currently performed at our fully equipped private clinics in the South and Midlands. Our clinics are located in Milton Keynes, Luton, Great Missenden, High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Northampton, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Stratford upon Avon and Coventry.
Types of skin cancer treatment
There is a variety of treatments for skin cancer – the options offered to you will depend on several factors including the size of the skin cancer, where it is on your body and your biopsy results.
This is an important treatment for many skin cancers. It can be done in a variety of ways, including reconstruction with skin grafts or moving flaps of skin.
This destroys cancer cells by using liquid nitrogen to freeze them. It’s a very quick way of treating small, low-risk skin cancers such as superficial basal cell carcinomas.
This may be used instead of surgery. It can be a very effective treatment for basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Radiotherapy may be given after surgery if there’s a risk that some cancer cells may still be present. Sometimes it’s used for tumours that have grown into the deeper layers of the skin.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
PDT uses light sources, combined with a light-sensitive drug (sometimes called a photosensitising agent), to destroy cancer cells.
A chemotherapy cream containing a drug called 5FU (Efudix®) can be used to treat some early squamous cell carcinomas and superficial basal cell carcinomas.
A cream called imiquimod (Aldara®) can be used to treat some basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body and face although usually (but not always) in sun exposed areas. They can be flat or raised although if you have any concerns about a mole on your skin it should be checked by a doctor.
We will assess your skin lesion thoroughly before undergoing treatment and advise you on the best course of action.
Following treatment, you will be seen regularly until your surgeon is happy that the cancer has been completely treated and the risk of recurrence is minimal.
Telephone 0845 304 7083 in total confidence.