Non- Melanoma Skin Cancer*

Non- Melanoma Skin Cancer*

What is non-melanoma skin cancer?

There are two different types of skin cancer, Non-melanoma skin cancer is the growth of abnormal skin cells and tends to develop on the outer layer of the skin that is exposed to the sun.

Melanoma skin cancer tends to develop in the melanocytes and is much more likely to spread, making it more serious.

Some facts about non-melanoma skin cancer.

In Ireland over 10,000 people are diagnosed with this each year/

Nine out of ten times non-melanoma cancer is caused by the sun’s UV rays

Non-melanoma skin cancer usually responds to treatment and rarely spreads to other parts of the body.



What increases my risk of  non-melanoma skin cancers

UV rays- frequent and intense exposure to UV rays and tanning beds will greatly increase your risk.

Personal History- Severe sunburn or blistering as a child or adolescent can increase your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer later in life. people who work outdoors are at an increased risk.

Sunbeds-  These are as cancer-causing as smoking. Using a sunbed even once can increase your risk by as much as 67%

Unusual moles- Your risk is increased if you have unusual moles or lots of moles.

Skin Type and eye colouring- The more fair your skin the higher the risk, also blue, green or grey eyed people are more at risk.

Previous Skin Cancer- Being diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer means you have a higher risk of a second or more diagnosis.

Family History- If a parent, sibling or child have been diagnosed you are also more at risk.

Age- Risk increases with age.

Weakened immune system- If you have a weakened immune system your risk may increase, for example if you had an organ transplant.


What are the signs of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Skin cancers do not all look the same, they can appear in a number of ways.

A small lump that is smooth, pearly or waxy.

A flat red spot that is scaly, crusty or bleeding.

A limp that is firm, scaly or has a crusted surface and may be sore.

Rough scaly or irregular patches.

If you have any symptoms or changes in your skin that you are worried about it is important that you talk to your GP.

Reducing your risk.

Don’t underestimate the power of the Irish sun

Avoid getting burned- Apply and re-apply SPF daily, avoid prolonged sun exposure, seek shade, wear a hat.

Do not use sunbeds

Regularly check your skin for changes.

* All information taken from the Irish Cancer Society.


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