The Truth About Skin Cancer


Skin cancer is very real – and 1 of the 5 most common types found worldwide. In this post, our expert dermatologists here at our skin clinics in Northwood, Elstree and Harley Street will lay bare the facts of skin cancer, including causes and symptoms, as well as outlining how our treatment could help.

What is skin cancer?


The disease is caused by DNA damage to skin cells, which causes mutations, and ultimately leads to uncontrolled growth. Over time, this becomes visible, in the form of tumours.

What causes skin cancer?


Skin cancer is always caused by exposure to UV rays, either through natural sunlight, or through tanning beds (the reason our dermatologists caution against their use). It therefore often develops on exposed areas of skin, such as the face, shoulders and back.

How is skin cancer diagnosed?


Skin cancer can be diagnosed visually, or through a biopsy (where a small part is removed and examined under a microscope). Here’s a bit more about the types our dermatologists can help with at our renowned skin clinics.

1) Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)


This is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for over 80% of all types. It typically looks like a red mark, a lumpy nodule, or a crater with a pearl-like rim. Usually, this type of skin cancer doesn’t spread and is usually curable.

2) Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)


Often presenting as a scaly or crusty area with a red base, many are painful. There’s a small risk it may spread, but can be cured if detected early.

3) Melanoma


Usually identified through a mole that’s changed colour or shape, and sometimes through areas of skin paling or reddening, melanoma is considered the most serious type of skin cancer and is more likely to spread than other types.

How is skin cancer treated?


The treatment depends on the type of skin cancer you have and how aggressive it is. Options at our skin clinicsinclude heat and cold treatments (cautery and cryotherapy), creams and surgical removal. More advanced cancers may require radiotherapy and chemotherapy, usually in cases where the cancer has penetrated below the skin. We can also offer skin cancer screening and mole removal treatments.

How can skin cancer be prevented?


Because it’s caused by UV rays, daily sun protection is absolutely essential, even during times of cool or cloudy weather. SPF30 is recommended by our dermatologists, and it’s also sensible to cover skin as much as possible, to seek shade, and to avoid using tanning beds.

Talk to us today


If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may have skin cancer, it’s important to get a quick and accurate diagnosis. Get in touch with our dermatologists at our skin clinics in Northwood, Elstree and Harley Street today to find out how we can help and what might be recommended for you. Remember, early detection can make all the difference.