Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer at Fitzwilliam Hospital

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells that form into a mass of cancer cells.

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and also tanning beds and sunlamps.

Although we do not know why certain cells become cancerous, risk factors have been identified for skin cancer. These include fair skin, red or blond hair, blue eyes, several freckles, previously damaged skin from sunburn or radiation, a large number of moles particularly those 5mm or more or irregularly shaped, precancerous skin lesions, age, a family or personal history of skin cancer, excessive sun exposure and living in sunny or high-altitude climates, a weakened immune system, and exposure to certain substances such as arsenic.

The diagnosis of skin cancer normally begins with a skin cancer screening which is a visual examination of your skin by a doctor or skin specialist (dermatologist) or plastic surgeon. They may take a biopsy to determine the type of skin cancer you have and whether it might spread to other parts of your body. Further tests may be required to check if cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or another part of your body.

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