|Melanoma Skin Cancer|
Melanocytes cluster together in the skin during childhood to form moles, and are the cells that produce melanin to help protect the skin from UV radiation.
Melanoma develops in melanocytes, and is the most dangerous and aggressive form of skin cancer, accounting for 3% of all skin cancers. Melanomas can grow very quickly if left untreated and can spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma of the skin can appear as a new or existing spot, freckle or mole that changes in colour, size or shape and can have dark coloured pigment or no colour in the lesion. They can grow anywhere on the body, not just in areas exposed to the sun.
Non-melanoma skin cancers
Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common cancers in Australia, and refer to all the types of cancer that occur in the skin that are not melanoma. The two main types are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and basal cell carcinomas (BCC), in addition to other rarer forms.
Approximately 28% of skin cancers are SCCs, arising from the squamous cells of the epidermis. This type of skin cancer is mainly caused by UV radiation either from sun exposure or solariums, but it can appear on skin that has been burned, damaged by chemicals, or exposed to x-rays.
About 68% of skin cancers are BCCs, arising in the basal cells in the epidermis. BCCs are mainly caused by long-term exposure to UV radiation from the sun or can develop in people who received radiation therapy as children. This type of skin cancer usually grows slowly.