Skin cancer

Skin cancer

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the skin.

Cancer that only affects cells in the skin’s top layer is called superficial cancer. Cancer that spreads deeply into the skin or to other parts of the body is known as invasive cancer. 

Read more about skin cancer.


Skin cancer symptoms

Skin cancers don’t all look the same, but there are some signs to look out for:

  • a spot that is different from other spots on the skin
  • a spot, mole or freckle that has changed in size, shape or colour
  • a sore that doesn’t heal
  • a spot that bleeds.

 Skin cancer statistics

  • Australia has among the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
  • About two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) are the most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer.
  • In Australia, over 750,000 new cases of Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are diagnosed and treated each year.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma can develop in young people, but is most common in people aged over 40.
  • SCC occurs mostly in people aged over 50.
  • Melanoma can occur in young people, but is more common in people over 40, especially men.

The aim of this information is to help you understand about skin cancer. We cannot advise you about the best treatment for you. You need to discuss this with your doctors. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about the questions you would like to ask your doctors or other health carers.

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