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Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer - Causes and Risk Factors

BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and is most common in the sun-exposed area. The most common complaint is bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and recurs. BCC is slow growing and may grow for many years before presentation to the doctor. There are several types of BCC. In Singapore, the pigmented BCC is relatively common and may be mistaken for a mole. Although BCC can be locally destructive, it rarely spreads (metastasizes).
SCC is the second most common skin cancer in Singapore. There are 3 types of presentation of SCC. SCC may arise from actinic keratoses that look like thick scaly patches stuck on the skin. These SCC are soft and freely movable and are located on the bald scalp, forehead, ears, and backs of the hands. The second type of SCC appears in sun-damaged skin. They are firm, movable, elevated lumps with sharply defined border and few scales on the surface. These SCC have minimal potential to metastasis but may be locally aggressive. The third type of SCC arises from normal skin or the lip. They are aggressive and metastasizes to regional lymph nodes.
Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer because of its tendency tometastasize early. There are several types of melanoma. The acral lentigenous melanoma is the most common type of melanoma in Singapore. They appear on the palms, soles or the under the nails of toes and fingers. The melanoma may arise from normal appearing skin or an existing pigmented growth. The ABCDE rule of melanoma stands for Asymmetry, Border, Colour (haphazard combination of many colours), Diameter over 6 mm and Evolving (enlarging) of a pigmented growth. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor if there is any change of a growth on the skin.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the most important risk factor of melanoma and NMSC. In addition to sun exposure, fair skin individuals (who also typically have lighter hair and eyes) are at higher risk of developing skin cancer as they have less melanin ( a pigment in the skin) to protect themselves from the UV rays. Risk factors for melanoma include sun exposure, family history or personal history of melanoma, history of atypical moles, and age. Individuals with a first-degree relative diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the disease than people who do not have a family history of the disease.   

Skin Cancer - Preparing for surgery

Skin Cancer - Post-surgery care

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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