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Non-melanoma skin cancers

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Non-melanoma skin cancers are a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin.


They affect more men than women and are more common in the elderly.


The first sign is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that doesn’t go away after a few weeks and slowly gets bigger over months or sometimes years.

In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.

Non-melanoma skin cancers most often develops on areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back.

Types of non-melanoma skin cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancers usually develop in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), and are often named after the type of skin cell from which they develop.

The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are:

  • basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – also known as a rodent ulcer, BCC starts in the cells lining the bottom of the epidermis and accounts for about 75% of skin cancers
  • squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis and accounts for about 20% of skin cancer

        Basal cell carcinoma

        Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) usually appears as a small, shiny pink or pearly-white lump with a translucent or waxy appearance. It can           also look like a red, scaly patch.

       There's sometimes some brown or black pigment within the patch.

       The lump slowly gets bigger and may become crusty, bleed or develop into a painless ulcer.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) appears as a firm pink lump with a rough or crusted surface. There can be a lot of surface scale and sometimes even a spiky horn sticking up from the surface.

The lump is often tender to touch, bleeds easily and may develop into an ulcer.

Preventing non-melanoma skin cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer isn't always preventable, but you can reduce your chances of developing it by avoiding overexposure to UV light.

You can protect yourself from sunburn by using high-factor sunscreen, dressing sensibly in the sun, and limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Sunbeds and sunlamps should also be avoided.

When to get medical advice

See your Dr if you have any skin abnormality, such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that hasn't healed after four weeks. While it's unlikely to be skin cancer, it's best to be sure.

The Eva Carter Cervical Cancer Awareness Fund


In June last year Eva first came to our medical centre. A 27yr. old lovely lady for a gynae check-up. Eva had never had a cervical smear test as she was in the process of moving to Spain when she was 25yrs. – the age that UK screening currently starts in the UK.

On examination it became apparent that ‘something was not right’ and investigations began immediately.

Regretfully the outcome for Eva was that despite a brave battle she did lose her life due to Cervical Cancer.

Damian, Eva’s husband says:

‘It always happens to someone else. You’re young, you’re fit and strong. You’ll be fine. At 28 years old, despite a brave battle the cancer won. Everyone who knew Eva loved her. The Eva Carter Cervical Cancer Awareness Fund has been set up to bring awareness to this terrible disease, that, with early detection can be cured.

Eva, as a Registered Nurse and a national carer can continue to care and her name can live on. Please help her to help you.

Due to the help and generosity of all the Vincent’s Corner pub staff and customers, Lee and Helen of the Pig & Whistle in the old town of Benidorm, friends and family of Eva, there is money raised to make a difference and hopefully save a life in Eva Carters name.’

The money raised in Eva’s fund is to pay for young women (aged 30yrs. or younger) to have a cervical smear test.

If you are a young woman who would like to have a smear test please call us for an appointment at The Family Medical Centre, Albir 966 865 072.

The Family Medical Centre will also be subsidising the cost of the test to allow more women to benefit from this fund. To take advantage of this opportunity you must quote The Eva Carter Cervical Cancer Awareness Fund at the time of booking your appointment.

I have had a hysterectomy. Do I need to carry on having smear tests?

There is no simple answer to this often asked question, as it depends upon the situation. The important issue is that the patient knows what type of hysterectomy she has had and the reason for the procedure.

During a smear test, cells are removed from the cervix (neck of the womb) and examined for changes that may lead to cancer later on. If a woman has had a TOTAL hysterectomy, the cervix will have been removed. If she has had a SUB-TOTAL hysterectomy the cervix will have been conserved.

Therefore, in the case of a sub- total hysterectomy, the woman should attend for regular smears. Very frequently, women who have had a total hysterectomy will not need to attend as they have no cervix.

However, and this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, if the hysterectomy was performed as a result of cancer or for any other reason if there were pre- cancerous changes or the suspicion of cancer, the woman will still need regular checks. In cases such as these, a procedure known as a vault smear is performed. It is the same procedure but as the woman has no cervix, cells are removed from the closed end of the vagina and the vaginal walls.

All women undergoing hysterectomy should ensure that they know exactly what type of surgery they are having and ask the Gynaecologist if ongoing smear tests are recommended. If you are unable to find this information out, see your Doctor or Practice Nurse.

The Core Team

Dawn Blythe

Clinic Director, Practice Midwife

Yvonne Evans

Clinic Director, Nurse

Dr. An Croonenborghs

General Practitioner

Jane Evans