What is the difference between melanoma skin cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer?

person standing in the sun with sunglasses on

Let’s face it, you’re worried about your health and the last thing you need to hear is further complications in the names of conditions such as this.

Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer and the good news is they are the most successfully treated. The most common type, non-melanoma, is also least likely to be fatal or spread to other parts of your body. That’s not to say you should ignore them as left undiagnosed or untreated, just by playing the averages that your skin condition is this type, you could unwittingly still leave yourself open to a significant amount of skin damage which ultimately requires skin grafts or reconstruction surgery to put things right. So get things checked out ASAP.

Melanoma is the rarer but more serious condition which starts in the pigment (colour) producing cells in the skin called melanocytes which then grow out of control. The signs of this will typically be changes in shape and colour in moles and lesions on the skin.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are similar to the much more common but less harmful non-melanoma skin cancers such as actinic keratosis (otherwise known as sunspots). Other terms you may hear are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

To further add to the confusion all these cancers are generally caused by overexposure to sunlight with the associated UV light, or man-made alternatives such as UV and sun lamps. Exposure does not mean you need to have been a holiday sun worshiper all your life, you could have been exposed as a child or simply had a job where parts of your skin are unintentionally caught outside or exposed through windows (windscreens tend to block most UV rays but side windows and sunroofs do not generally block out the cancer-causing UVA rays). So delivery people, postmen and women, drivers etc are all easily affected.

Basal Cell is most common making up 75% of skin cancers and usually appears as a small, shiny pink or pearly-white lump with a translucent or waxy appearance. It can also look like a red, scaly patch and there is sometimes some brown or black pigmentation within the patch. The lump slowly gets bigger and may become crusty, bleed or develop into a painless ulcer.

The good news is that this most common type of skin cancer is the type most ideally suited to treatment by Curaderm BEC5 which can be easily applied locally (topically) to the affected external skin – and the cream is non-toxic and considered non-invasive in that it does not damage surrounding tissues, only the cancer cells which get eaten up by the body’s own defence systems.

In use now for 40 years with numerous medical trials confirming Curaderm BEC5 is a viable, safe, easy-to-use alternative to invasive medical treatments cutting out skin and patching things up afterwards, it’s easy to understand why for medical professionals worldwide it’s becoming a sensible option to consider – even more so whilst on the waiting list for surgery as the costs and hassles are so much lower.

A Curaderm.net information resource you may wish to share with your own Doctor.