Not all skin cancers arise from moles and in fact most skin cancers arise from areas on the skin that do not have moles - these are usually Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC’s) or Squamal Cell Carcinomas (SCC's).
If you think you have a skin cancer of any type (BCC, SCCor melanoma) or any lesions you are suspicious of, please arrange for a full-body skin and mole check.
Skin Deep has regular Skin Cancer Clinics run by Dr Andrew Botting, who is trained in Skin Cancer Medicine and uses dermoscopy to evaluate any suspicious skin lesions or moles in real time. Dermatoscopy is the recommended method of evaluating potential skin cancers and is preferred to a simple mole map which takes serial photographs and scans for change over time. There is no substitute for a thorough skin assessment by a doctor with a special interest in skin cancer. At Skin Deep our doctors can perform the skin check (including dermoscopy) and arrange for a biopsy for accurate diagnosis and excision for the best possible clinical and cosmetic outcome. We are also able to remove lesions with minimal scarring through modern surgical techniques and also prescription creams.
Skin Deep is an Affiliated Provider to Southern Cross Health Society for skin cancer treatment, skin biopsies, and skin cancer surgery. Medical necessity criteria apply.
The most common types of skin cancer in New Zealand are Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or rodent ulcer is the most common type of skin cancer and is particularly common in New Zealand because of our clear air and thin ozone layer. Although this form of skin cancer is very rarely a threat to life, they never get smaller and the longer they are left, the more skin is lost in treatment. A stitch in time, can really save nine. BCC are classified as nodular, superficial, morphoeic or pigmented.
BCC typically affects adults of fair complexion who have had a lot of sun exposure, or repeated episodes of sunburn and they are more common in the elderly.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common type of skin cancer. It is derived from squamous cells, the cells that make up the outside layers of the skin (epidermis). These cells produce keratin, the horny protein that makes up skin, hair and nails. Invasive SCC refers to skin cancer cells that have grown into the deeper layers of the skin (dermis). Invasive SCCs are usually slowly-growing, tender, scaly lumps. They may develop sores or ulcers that fail to heal.
Most SCCs are found on sun-exposed sites, particularly the face, lips, ears, scalp, hands, forearms and lower legs. They vary in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. Sometimes they grow to the size of a pea or larger in a few weeks, though more commonly they grow slowly over months or years. Again these cancers never get smaller on their own, and early treatment is the key to losing less skin.
What do I do if I think I have a BCC or SCC?
If you suspect you have a skin cancer, book an appointment with Dr Andrew Botting who will perform a full body skin check and if you have a BCC or SCC he can arrange for a biopsy and full excision.
Malignant melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer.
This needs to be diagnosed and treated early to improve survival rates.
Depending on the size and site of the melanoma you may be offered a wide excision and biopsy of the suspected melanoma or urgent referral to a general or plastic surgeon. The key is to get screened to catch and treat these early.
Prescriptions for skin cancers
Dr Botting or Dr Deshpande may prescribe a medicine to treat sun damaged skin. Aldara and Efudix are two commonly prescribed treatments and should be used with care and only as directed by one of our trained doctors.
EFUDIX is used for the topical treatment of superficial pre-malignant and malignant skin
lesions; keratoses including senile, actinic and arsenical forms; keratoacanthoma; Bowen’s
disease; superficial basal-cell carcinoma. Deep, penetrating or nodular basal cell and
squamous cell carcinomas do not usually respond to EFUDIX therapy. It should be used
only as a palliative therapy in such cases where no other form of treatment is possible.
Aldara is used to treat solar keratosis (SK) on the face and scalp, superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC).
- Solar keratoses are thickened, scaly patches of skin caused by too much sun exposure. Solar keratosis is also known as actinic keratosis.
- Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer.