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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of skin cancers

Mother and daughter under sunshadeSkin cancer is the growth of abnormal skin cells. It is the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders.

There are two main types of skin cancer:

Melanoma is the most serious as it is more likely to spread round your body.

Damage from the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is the cause of most skin cancers. Protecting your skin from the sun throughout your life greatly reduces your chance of getting skin cancer.

You have more chance of getting skin cancer if:

Skin cancers are found by checking any mole, freckle or spot (lesion) that:

You can check your own skin or get checked by your doctor.

To find out what kind of skin cancer it is, your doctor may remove part or all of the lesion. This will then be looked at under a microscope.

There are different treatments for skin cancers, depending on the type and where it is.Treatment of most skin cancers is very successful especially if found early.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Finding & preventing skin cancers

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created May 2021.

Page reference: 853792

Review key: HIMEL-15455