Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma


Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer, usually appearing after 40 years of age and in places exposed to sunshine, but not exclusively.

Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a nodule, usually raised, or as a papular skin lesion with central atrophy with varicose veins and a nodular extension.

The treatment of choice for basal cell carcinoma is surgical removal, otherwise the tumour will slowly destroy tissue locally.

The dermatologist will recommend the appropriate treatment depending on the area and clinical picture.

Alternative methods of treating basal cell carcinoma are cryotherapy, radiation and imiquimod (application of the chemical substance imiquimod).

Owing to the high rate of recurrence, basal cell carcinoma must be regularly monitored for at least two years after removal.


Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer, second in aggression after melanoma.

It most commonly appears in areas exposed to sunlight, such as areas with alopecia (baldness) in men, lips, auricula, arms, legs.

Squamous cell carcinoma may also appear on the tongue, genitals, old burn scars.

Depending on the area, it may look like a wound with a scaly top which does not heal. On the tongue, it appears as hard, whitish patches.

Squamous cell carcinoma mostly concerns seniors, and risk factors include actinic hyperkeratoses, leukoplakia, Bowen’s disease, LSA, burn and other ulcers, immunodeficiency, pale skin phototype, smoking, alcohol and ultraviolet radiation. Depending on the stage and area, approximately 2-10% of the cases may metastasize.

The treatment of choice for squamous cell carcinoma is surgical removal. Monitoring for recurrence is required during the first 2 years.

In actinic hyperkeratoses, the most appropriate treatment is cryotherapy followed by locally applying imiquimod cream or 5-FU.

This way, the entire area where non clinically visible actinic hyperkeratoses may appear is treated.



Melanoma is the potentially terminal skin cancer, however timely and early diagnosis may save lives.

Melanoma is directly related to ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure, solarium). Aggravating factors include family history of melanoma, multiple dysplastic nevi, sensitive to sunburns pale skin phototype, with fair hair and eyes.

Attention should therefore be paid to a mole which changes colour, shape, bleeds, itches. Melanoma may also appear in areas such as the soles of the feet, between the toes, on the heel, nails and genitals.

Melanoma looks like a dark mole with a strange shape and/or a lump, but in rare occurrences it may have the same colour as the skin or it may be red. In co-operation with a special department of plastic surgery, dermato-oncology and oncology, the doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment based on the extent (staging) of the melanoma.


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