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Sun Related
Skin Damage

Sun Related Skin Damage

Exposure to the harmful radiation of the sun causes damage to the genetic material of the skin cells. These altered skin cells divide uncontrollably to form a tumour mass. These appear as new growth or a sore that does not heal. The cancer of the basal cells is called basal cell cancer and that of keratinocytes is called squamous cell cancer. The cancer of the melanocytes is called melanoma. The basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer together are categorised as non-melanoma skin cancers.

Basal cell carcinoma - Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. About 80% of skin cancer cases are found to be basal cell carcinomas. It can look like a small pearly nodule or pinkish patch on the skin. It can also appear as a sore that seems to heal but returns repeatedly or as yellowish waxy scar. It usually appears on the sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, scalp, neck and trunk. These cancers grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma - About 20% of skin cancers are squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma develops most commonly in middle-aged and elderly people with fair complexion and long-term exposure to sun rays. It is most commonly seen on sun-exposed areas of the body.

Melanoma - Melanoma often but not always develops from the mole. Melanomas are malignant and can spread to other parts of the body if not treated early. Any change in the size, colour, shape and feel of the existing mole or appearance of a new mole should be reported and checked by your doctor and if thought appropriate by a Dermatologist.


The primary mode of treatment of any skin cancer is surgery. The type of surgery used depends on the type of skin cancer, it’s size and location. Occasionally, surgery may be followed by radiation therapy or radiation therapy may be used instead of surgery.

If the skin cancer is superficial it may be possible to treat it with topical creams, photodynamic therapy (PDT), curettage and cautery, cryotherapy.

Meet Dr Wood AM
M.B.B.S (Hons) F.A.C.D
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The Australasian College of Dermatologists - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist The American Academy of Dermatology - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist The European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist The Society for Paediatric Dermatology - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist The Royal Hospital for Women - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist The Prince of Wales Hospital (Sydney) - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist Prince of Wales Private Hospital - Dr Glenda Wood - Dermatologist