Section : Skin Conditions

Skin cancers

Dr Christophe HSU – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

What are skin cancers ?

There are many types of skin cancers. The three common skin cancers are :-

1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

  • This presents as a firm irregular fleshy growth usually on sun exposed skin.
  • The growth can increase rapidly in size giving rise to a large lump which may sometimes break down to form an ulcer.
  • If untreated, the cancer may spread to the surrounding lymph glands.
  • SCC usually appears in elderly patients. Chronic sun exposure is an important contributing factor in the development of this type of skin cancer.
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Bowen’s disease is a squamous cell carcinoma limited to the superficial part of the skin (intraepithelial). (In the genital area, it is also called Erythroplasia of Queyrat or VIN III (Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia)
Bowen’s Disease
Histology of Bowen’s Disease: There is loss of organization of the epidermis (loss of polarity) and the presence of dysplastic keratinocytes. The cells however do not extend beyond the epidermis

2. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • This is a slow growing painless skin cancer.
  • The cancer often presents as an indolent ulcer with a shiny or translucent raised margin. The ulcer is often pigmented.
  • This cancer commonly appears on the face.
    Basal cell carcinoma
    Basal cell carcinoma

More Pictures

3. Malignant Melanoma

  • This is a cancer of the pigment cells of the skin.
  • It is a highly malignant skin cancer.
  • It presents as dark brown or black skin growth or ulcer. It may look like ordinary moles. But unlike the common mole:
  1. it grows rapidly
  2. its surface has several shades of red, black or blue colours
  3. its margin is irregular
  4. it tends to be large.
  5. it tends to be thick.
  • Melanoma is uncommon among Asians where it occurs on the fingers, toes and face.
    Superficial spreading malignant melanoma
    Superficial spreading malignant melanoma

Treatment for skin cancers

  • All skin cancers should be removed immediately.
  • The cancerous tumours must be destroyed or removed surgically.
  • Sometimes, a small piece of the tumour is removed (skin biopsy) first for examination to confirm if it is cancerous.


Dr Christophe HSU – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

National Skin Centre. Singapore

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Category : basal cell carcinoma - Modifie le 11.29.2009Category : carcinomes basocellulaire - Modifie le 11.29.2009Category : carcinomes spinocellulaires - Modifie le 11.29.2009Category : melanoma - Modifie le 11.29.2009Category : mélanome - Modifie le 11.29.2009Category : squamous cell carcinoma - Modifie le 11.29.2009