Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Recent stats show a record 224,000 skin cancers were discovered in England in 2019.
But what is skin cancer?
There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer can be divided into two types: basal cell skin and squamous cell skin cancer. These are more commonly caused by sun exposure and there’s a high cure rate for these cancers.
Melanoma cancer, on the other hand, can spread to other organs and is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the fifth most common cancer in the UK. The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
Most common areas for skin cancer
As shown in the image below, the most common areas to find skin cancer vary between men and women. Whilst in women it’s more common to find skin cancer in the leg, arms and trunk, it’s more common in the trunk, head and neck and arms for men.
Facts and Myths of skin cancer
When it comes to skin cancer, there are a lot of myths around this subject. We have compiled a list of the most common myths and facts about skin cancer:
- Only old people get skin cancer – This is false. Skin cancer doesn’t wait for old age to strike.
- Skin cancer is not just for blondes or red heads – it can affect anyone with any skin type and tones. Darker tones can also get skin cancer. In fact, Bob Marley died of acral lentiginous melanoma.
- It can be hereditary – if you have certain genetics in the family, the risk of skin cancer increases, especially if you have a family history.
- Weakened immune system – people who have had an organ transplant for example are more susceptible to skin cancer.
Sun and UV exposure is the biggest risk
Spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection can increase the risk of skin cancer. “Artificial UV rays account for a 67% higher of squamous cell cancer and 30% higher rate of basal cell cancer if you use sunbeds”, says Diane Cannon from Melanoma UK.
This is why looking at early detection and protecting your skin is key.
SkinVision and detection
Since the introduction of SkinVision – a skin cancer detection app – to Medicash’s health plans, there’s been a total of 34,202 completed skin checks with 1,695 cases referred for further investigation. From those, 75 skin cancers were identified and removed.
These stats just show how important it is to check your skin spots and moles for skin cancer.
One of the 75 skin cancers that were identified and removed, is the story of Neil, a Medicash policyholder who identified a mole that turned out to be a melanoma by using SkinVision after it was included on his policy.
“I initially took a photograph of a mole I was concerned about using the app. They flagged as at risk so I went to see my doctor, who referred me to a consultant. The consultant said it was fine, but I still had a niggling worry about it, so I got a second opinion and they later found out it was a melanoma in situ [stage 1]”
“I’m not the kind of person that goes to the doctors when they should and something like this just makes it so easy.”
You can find out more about Neil’s story by watching the video below: