We’ve often talked about how to stay safe in the sun, as we all know it helps us prevent skin cancer. This Skin Cancer Awareness Month we give you some further info on how to spot the signs early!
Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin.
In the UK, around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year. It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly.
Symptoms of non-melanoma cancer include:
• The appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.
• In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.
• Non-melanoma skin cancer most often develops on areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back.
When to get
See a GP if you have any skin abnormality, such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that has not healed after 4 weeks. While it's unlikely to be skin cancer, it's best to get it checked.
.What causes non-melanoma skin cancer?
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the main cause of non-melanoma skin cancer. UV light comes from the sun, as well as from artificial tanning sunbeds and sunlamps.
Other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing non-melanoma skin cancer include:
• previous skin cancer
• a family history
• pale skin that burns easily
• a large number of moles or freckles
• taking immune suppressing medication
• A medical condition that suppresses your immune system.