Two in three Australians will have a skin cancer in their lifetime, nearly all of them basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) or melanomas.
If the spot removed was more like a sore or lump than a mole, it’s likely your doctor is talking about basal or squamous cell carcinoma, also called keratinocyte cancer or non-melanoma skin cancer. (See our piece on melanomas, which look more like moles, here).
It’s difficult to know how many are diagnosed each year, but based on Medicare data, there are more than 900,000 treatments for BCC and SCC each year – some of these will be separate treatments of the same cancer.
When diagnosed early, BCCs and SCCs are usually straightforward to treat. But don’t be complacent. Left untreated, they will grow wider and deeper, as much as 20cm across. They will invade and destroy surrounding tissue, even bone.