Australia is a country known for its sunshine and beaches. The high rate of skin cancer in Australia is mainly due to its proximity to the equator resulting in high levels of ultraviolet radiation. Some of the risk factors which contribute to the development of skin cancer include - dominance of moles or freckles, lighter skin that burns easily but does not tan, light coloured eyes and hair (blonde or red), sunburn possibilities, a family history of skin cancer and extended hours in the sun, even if sunscreen is used.At least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.1 The risk is higher in men than in women (70% vs. 58%) The risk of mortality is also higher for men. Risk factors for developing skin cancer 1. High number of moles or freckles 2. Fair skin that burns easily but does not tan 3. Light coloured eyes and light coloured hair (blonde or red) 4. Sunburn sufferers 5. Family history of skin cancer 6. Extended hours in the sun, even if sunscreen is used
Types Of Skin Lesions
Know your skin type
They are often referred as moles, tags or lumps and bumps. They are not cancerous, but may look awful and people want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons.
Examples are solar keratosis and Bowen’s disease.
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. This has the best cure rate with surgery. They are slow growing and rarely spreads to other areas of the body.
SCC’s are relatively faster growing more aggressive cancers than BCC. They occur mostly in sun-exposed areas, such as the face and backs of the hands. It can spreads to distant organs. Surgical removal is treatment of choice but can be life threatening if untreated.
Australia has one of highest incidence rate of melanoma in the world. It is the least common but has highest mortality rate. Melanoma may occurs on sun exposed area or may develop in pre-existing mole or appear as a new. If diagnosed in time melanomas can be cured with surgical treatment alone.
Most skin cancers are best removed surgically. In elderly and frail patients who cannot tolerate surgery, treatment options and topical ointments like Aldara, Efudex and Picato.