Melanoma is a cancer that usually starts in the skin. It can start in a mole or in normal-looking skin. Melanoma is an uncontrolled growth of melanocytes (pigment cells). Melanocytes are found in the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis; they produce melanin which protects cells by absorbing UV radiation. Non-cancerous growth of melanocytes results in moles, whereas the cancerous growth of melanocytes results in Melanoma.
Non melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) consists of two main categories: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). NMSC accounts for 20% of all cancers and 90% of all skin cancers.
BCCs are the most common type of skin cancer and sometimes referred to as “rodent ulcers” They develop from basal cells and these are found in the deepest part of the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). They develop mostly in areas of skin exposed to the sun, including parts of the face such as the nose, forehead and cheeks. Also, on your back or lower legs.
SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. It is generally faster growing than basal cell cancers. They begin in cells called keratinocytes, which are found in the epidermis. Most SCCs develop on areas of skin exposed to the sun. These areas include parts of the head, neck, and on the back of your hands and forearms.