standard-title Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer

Australia, with New Zealand,  has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

2 out of 3 Australians will develop a skin cancer before the age of 75. Skin cancers are the most common type of cancer in Australia, and 4 out of 5 new cancer cases are skin cancers.

Fortunately, most skin cancers are rarely deadly, but melanoma is the third most common life-threatening cancer overall  (after lung cancer and bowel cancer).

Sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancers, where getting sunburnt increases the risk of developing melanoma, while long term excessive sun exposure increases the risk of other skin cancers such as BCCs and SCCs

Your risk of skin cancer is related to your skin type,  age, family history and previous skin cancers.

Check your risk at :

The three most common skin cancers are:

BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma)

  • The most common skin cancer (>70%)
  • usually pink lumps on the skin
  • can ulcerate, bleed and itch

SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)

  • Second most common skin cancer (25%)
  • usually arise from sun spots (solar keratoses)
  • dry scaling red spots, often tender and sore
  • can spread through to lymph glands uncommonly


  • 3% of skin cancers are melanomas
  • the most serious because of spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream
  • can arise anywhere on the body, including areas with no sun exposure