What Are Melanoma and Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer? Should We Be Worried About It?
Not all skin cancers are deadly. Some of them are treatable. Some of them
have high survival rates. There are two types of skin cancer that you
should know; Melanoma and Non-Melanocytic (NMSC). There were
14,485 cases in 2016 and 1,415 deaths in 2019 due to melanoma. Total
cases of NMSC is 959,243 and the mortality rate is 678.
Melanoma is the result of unrepaired DNA damage to melanocytes. This
triggers abnormal cell growth. Malignant melanomas are classified into
four types by histological appearance and biological behaviour. Here are
the four types of melanoma:
• Superficial spreading melanoma (SSM): Typically forms in areas
intermittently exposed to the sun, and remains in the upper layers of
the skin for a long time before invading more deeply.
• Lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM): Arises on chronically sunexposed/
sun-damaged skin, on the head or neck of patients, usually
among those who are over 40 years of age.
• Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM): Occurs almost exclusively on
hands and feet. ALM spreads superficially for months to years before
becoming invasive. However, ALM can advance more rapidly than
SSM or LMM.
• Nodular melanoma (NM): NM is relatively small in diameter,
symmetrical in shape, uniform in colour, and frequently amelanotic
Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer type
Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer are cancers of epithelial layer (epidermis)
and more common than melanoma. NMSC is also known as keratinocyte
carcinomas. This type of skin cancer is treatable compared to the
Melanoma type. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common NMSC.
NMSCs are usually for people above 40 years old.
Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer (NMSC) has two types; Basal cell
carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is
common in areas with high exposure to UV radiation. This type of cancer
is the most common malignancy in humans. BBCs usually appear on the
head and neck, followed by the trunk.
Approximately 30% of non-melanocytic skin cancer is made up by
squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Most exposed parts of the body such as
the head, neck, arms, and legs are usually the common spots for SCC.
Squamous cell carcinoma may grow more rapidly than BCC. SCC requires
treatment to prevent the growth of tumors.
People who live in places where it gets high exposure to UV radiation
from the sun have to be aware of the higher chance of skin cancer. It is
important to check on the skin condition regularly. The earlier you check
on the health of your skin the higher chance of you getting better