What to do if you notice skin changes
If you notice anything unusual on your skin that does not go away after four weeks, show it to your doctor. Remember that there are many other skin conditions that are not cancer, especially in older people. It can be more difficult to notice changes if you have darker skin.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis. It is sometimes called a rodent ulcer. It is very common. About 75% of all skin cancers in the UK are BCCs. Most BCCs are very slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body. Nearly everyone with a BCC who has treatment is completely cured.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a cancer of the cells in the outer layer of the skin. It is the second most common type of skin cancer in the UK. Most people treated for SCC are completely cured. Usually, SCCs are slow-growing. They only spread to other parts of the body if they are left untreated for a long time.
Why self-examination is important for women and men!
One in eight women will get breast cancer, yet over a third of women don’t check themselves regularly for early tell-tale signs that could save lives. Regular self-examination should take place around the same time every month to help you become familiar with the natural shape and feel of your breasts. Any changes should be easily detected, in particular puckering and dimpling of the skin, new pain that doesn’t go away, lumps or bumps not present in the other breast, and unusual discharge, bleeding or rash from the nipple.
Testicular cancer is a young man’s disease, with males aged 15-35 being most at risk. Early diagnosis can be life-saving, yet only 1 in 5 men check themselves monthly. During or after a warm bath or shower is the best time to self-examine, when the muscles are relaxed and hang lower. Danger signs include pain or discomfort in the testicles or scrotum; a dragging feeling in the scrotum; a dull ache in the groin or lower stomach; excess fluid in the scrotum; blood in the sperm and discharge from the penis.
Don’t miss a regular screening test
Smear tests prevent 75% of cervical cancers, so while they may not be pleasant, they are important. It can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage, or even preventing them. Women screened between the ages of 35 to 64 are thought to have a 60 to 80% lower risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 5 years following the test compared to women who haven’t been screened.
Bowel cancer screening programmes involves sending a testing kit every 2 years to people eligible to take part. In England, men & women between the ages of 60 and 74 years take part.
So don’t put off your appointment for breast, cervical or bowel screening, it could save your life!