- Skin cancer survival rate is generally good, although varys between the type of skin cancer diagnosed, according to experts
- Skin cancer symptoms include unusual changes to your skin
- Doctors are often able to cure skin cancer, meaning it does not threaten your life
Skin cancer survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer diagnosed, but are normally good.
Non-Melanoma skin cancer, which is often detected by the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch, has a “very high” cure rate according to Cancer Research UK.
“There are no UK statistics available for survival of people with non-melanoma skin cancer,” they said online. “But the outlook is generally very good.”
They added the outlook for melanoma skin cancer, occuring in either the basal or squamous cells, is also good.
“Doctors can almost always cure basal cell skin cancers. It is extremely rare for it to spread to another area of the body.
“Doctors can also cure most people with squamous cell skin cancer,” they added. “A small number of people might have squamous cell cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. This may still be cured.”
Melanoma UK, a charity focused on skin cancers, said online: “The main thing you should know is that if you have had an early melanoma, with no spread to your lymph nodes or any other part of your body, then it is highly likely that simply removing it will cure you.
“Melanoma is more difficult to treat in the later stages.
“Of all those diagnosed with melanoma in England and Wales, about 86 out of every 100 people will live for at least five years. About 83 out of every 100 people diagnosed with melanoma will live for at least 10 years.”
Symptoms of melanoma skin cancer are usually a change in moles on the skin. The sooner the cancer is spotted the higher the survival rate.
Warning signs of the other type, non-melanoma skin cancer which usually occurs inside the skin, include a spot or sore on the skin.
Skin cancers are generally caused by too much exposure from ultraviolet (UV) light, which damages DNA in skin cells causing the problem.
The condition can be easily prevented by taking precautions to protect the skin from sun light.
“The more easily you burn, the more important it is to protect your skin whenever the sun is strong,” said Fiona Osgun, from Cancer Research UK.
“The best ways to protect your skin are spending time in the shade and covering up with clothes, a hat and sunglasses.
“For the parts you can’t cover up use sunscreen with at least SPF15 and four or five stars. But remember that sunscreen should be used as a last line of defence, and not to stay out in the sun longer or to sunbathe.”
Cancer Research UK said there isn’t one specific time when people should check for cancer, instead it is important to just be familiar with the body.
“We recommend finding out what our own body look and feels like,” a spokesperson told Express.co.uk.
“If you notice any unusual or persistent changes then go to your doctor.
“We also don’t recommend trying any self-diagnosis at home. This hasn’t been shown to have any benefit and often causes people unnecessary anxiety.”
The spokesperson also advised against checking for the UK’s most common cancers: breast cancer, prostate cancer amd lung cancer.
“Even though they are the most common cancers, this doesn’t mean you should keep checking for them,” said the spokesperson.