Skin Cancer Types, Geelong

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • Most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer.
  • Approximately 75 percent of skin cancers in Australia are BCCs
  • More common in the middle-aged and elderly.
  • Occur predominantly in sun-exposed areas, especially the head and neck (approximately 75 percent of lesions).
  • Sun exposure the greatest risk factor, however some people have a genetic predisposition, especially where members of the family have had multiple lesions.
  • Tend to develop over months to years.
  • Easily treated if detected early.
  • Rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, however can be quite destructive locally if not treated early or adequately.

Types of BCCs


  • Most common type.
  • Skin-coloured lump often with a pearly appearance.
  • May have blood vessels coursing over the surface
  • It may develop a central crater or ulcer.


  • Second most common type of skin cancer.
  • Plaque-like, red, scaly.
  • May look like solar keratoses, Bowen’s disease, or other non-cancerous conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
  • May have little satellite areas (multifocal) making for a higher risk of recurrence.

Morpheic (fibrosing)

  • Irregular, ill-defined plaques.
  • May feel quite firm.
  • May be a pale, whitish colour.
  • Complete removal maybe more difficult because of its ill-defined nature. Often need to treat more aggressively to ensure eradication.


  • Similar to papulo-nodular however containing melanin pigment.
  • May have a black, blue or brown appearance.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

  • Less common than BCCs, though it is the second most common skin cancer.
  • Occur predominantly in sun-exposed areas –head, neck, forearms, legs.
  • May develop in solar keratoses or areas of Bowen’s disease.
  • People with suppressed immune systems, or those taking immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. organ transplant recipients), have an increased risk of developing SCCs.
  • May develop over weeks to months.
  • Appear as a red, scaly spot, which is frequently thickened. It may often bleed or weep and ulcerate after a period of time.
  • Risk of spread to other parts of the body is approximately one percent. It is higher if they occur on the lip or the ear.

Malignant melanoma

  • Develops in the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) in the skin
  • Less common than BCCs and SCCs.
  • In Australia, lifetime risk is: men – one in 27 and women – one in 36.
  • Queensland has the highest rate of melanoma in the world.
  • More common in sun-exposed areas, however can arise anywhere in the body where there are melanocytes (including the outer lining of the eye, the soles of the feet, the mouth and the vulva).

People more at risk include:

  • Those who burn easily and rarely tan.
  • Those with a history of excessive, intermittent sun exposure producing severe sunburn.
  • Those with large numbers of moles(naevi).
  • Those with a history of dysplastic naevi.
  • Those with a family history of melanoma.

Warning signs:

  • Varying colour developing in a spot, either new or pre-existing.
  • Irregular or smudged outline.
  • Increase in size or sudden appearance of a mole or freckle.
  • Itching , bleeding, or lumpiness occurring in a mole or freckle.

Types of melanoma

Superficial spreading melanoma

  • Most common type of skin cancer.
  • Most frequently found on the back and chest in men, and on the legs in women.
  • Usually greater than  five mm in diameter.
  • Irregular border and irregular pigmentation (including brown, black, blue, pink) are common features.
  • May become raised later.
  • Itching and bleeding may occur in the latter stages.

Nodular melanoma

  • Slightly more common in men.
  • Usually black or blue (occasionally pink) lump which grows quickly.
  • Frequently ulcerates or bleeds.

Lentigo maligna melanoma

  • Usually found in the elderly.
  • Most common on the head and neck.
  • Frequently seen in people with a lifetime of high sun exposure.
  • Usually a history of a flat brown spot that has been present for some time which undergoes changes in size, shape and colour.

Acral lentiginous melanomas

  • Occur on the soles of the feet, palms and around or underneath the nails.

Other variants

  • Desmoplastic: Flesh-coloured spot or lump, most commonly found on the head and neck.
  • Conjunctival: Outer lining of the eye.
  • Mucosal: The lining of the mouth, the vulva and the vagina.

Treatment is successful in a majority of cases if diagnosed early. A visit to Anthony McDonald Plastic Surgeon will ensure that your skin cancer is correctly and accurately diagnosed, and a treatment-plan set up. Contact us if you would like to make an appointment or have been referred to us by your doctor.