Skin cancer refers to an abnormal growth of skin cells that develop in your epidermis (uppermost layer of skin) and are triggered to become mutated and form cancer. Skin cancer can present as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. The type of skin cancer that occurs most in Singapore is Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is a slow-growing type of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (cells on lower part of epidermis) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (cells on the skin’s surface) are skin cancers that do not easily spread to other parts of the body. They are usually present in the head, neck, face and arms and have a high survival rate if detected early.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when Melanocytes (melanin-producing skin cells) grow out of control. Melanocytes become more sensitive when exposed to sunlight which makes it hard for skin cells to regenerate themselves properly over time. Melanoma, while rare in Singapore, makes up around 75% of skin cancer deaths. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer that forms in the melanocytes (melanin-producing skin cells) as it is fast-growing and can spread to other organs.
Skin cancer is typically caused by overexposure to the sun. It can also be triggered by light-sensitive treatments such as tanning beds which damage the skin’s DNA and cause abnormal cell changes.
Some causes of skin cancer in Singapore may include:
Some symptoms of skin cancer include: