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Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

Failure to diagnose skin cancer and melanoma misdiagnosis

A photo of Mrs Swaffield

I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E.Swaffield
Loughborough

Claiming for skin cancer misdiagnosis

While rare, melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that requires a prompt diagnosis and treatment in order to be managed successfully. Learning you have any form of cancer is a truly terrifying experience, but if you believe that there has been a misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis of melanoma, which caused a subsequent delay in starting your treatment, it is even more difficult to cope.

After experiencing medical negligence, patients can lose confidence in all doctors, feel very isolated and vulnerable, but this shouldn’t be the case. If you have experienced skin cancer misdiagnosis, bringing a medical negligence claim can help you understand what went wrong and receive financial compensation to support your recovery. Here at Your Legal Friend we understand that compensation won’t undo the experience you have had to endure, but it can help cover future outgoings and support you and your family whilst you recover.

We have a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors who are experienced in supporting people in a similar situation to yours. With their skills and knowledge, they could help you receive compensation for melanoma misdiagnosis. They will work on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome. Throughout your case you will be represented by a specialist medical negligence solicitor who will guide you through the process and support you as we investigate your case.

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Our expert team will call you...

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of medical malpractice cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a medical negligence case.

Our Skin Cancer expert team. We deal with medical negligence claims arising from Skin Cancer.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our medical negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high-value medical negligence cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation.  Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006.  Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors, call us now on 0151 550 5228(calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

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Request a callback that suits you

When would you like us to call?

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan

Director of Medical Negligence

What our customers say

Mrs. Vora's portrait

“I found the staff to be friendly, helpful, courteous and they kept me well informed on a regular basis”

Mrs. Vora,
Loughborough

A photo of Mr Dowse

“They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently”

Mr Dowse
Leeds

  For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today 0151 550 5228

10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Obtaining your medical records
Step
2
Providing your statement of what happened
Step
3
Minimising your loss
Step
4
Establishing that a breach of duty occurred
Step
5
Estabilishing the effect of the breach of duty
Step
86
Preparing your case for CourtCalculating the value of your claim
Step
7
Proving your loss
Step
68
Calculating the value of your claimPreparing your case for Court
Step
9
Attending the trial in Court
Step
10
Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

Can I claim for skin cancer misdiagnosis?

If you’ve been affected by skin cancer misdiagnosis it may be possible to make a claim. In order to be successful you will need to demonstrate that you have been let down by the healthcare system and did not receive the level of care that you were entitled to. Misdiagnosis of skin cancer, including skin cancer and melanoma, can have serious consequences for the patient’s treatment, as well as their mental wellbeing and financial state.

  • Skin cancer misdiagnosis claims can be based on many different factor, including:
  • Failure to diagnose signs and symptoms of skin cancer
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to refer a patient with suspected skin cancer quickly enough
  • The necessary tests not being ordered
  • Inaccurate reading of test results
Read less

How much compensation will I get?

Skin cancer compensation depends upon how you personally have been affected by the misdiagnosis and what you have personally lost in terms of earnings and financial costs. All medical claims are given a value based on each individual experience of the patient. As a result, it’s not possible to tell you how much you can expect to receive in missed skin cancer diagnosis compensation at the outset. Our expert team are on hand and will take the time to listen to you r experiences and to understand what you went through. Based on the information you give us we are then able to value your case, reflecting the undue suffering that medical negligence has caused you.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you believe you have a case for missed skin cancer diagnosis compensation, you have 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’. The ‘date of knowledge’ refers to when you first realised that a mistake had been made in your treatment and level of care. This is usually when you are diagnosed with melanoma or another form of skin cancer and for some patients this can be a long time after they first approached their GP with concerns and they could have even started their treatment at this point.

The time limits around medical claims can be confusing. If you would like more information, or if you would like to see if you are within the time limit to make a claim, we can help you. Our experienced team will be able to use their knowledge to help you pinpoint how long you have to make a claim.

While you do have 3 years to make a claim, we strongly recommend that you start the process as soon as possible. We appreciate that this can be a daunting prospect, but it can make gathering the evidence to investigate your case much easier, giving your compensation for delayed diagnosis claim the best possible chance of success.

Read less

What causes melanoma?

Melanoma has become one of the fastest growing types of cancer in the UK, with skin cancer rates now 4 times higher than they were in the 70’s. While this is partly down to improved awareness and early diagnosis, exposure to the sun and holidays to warmer climates are likely to have played a role, too. Like with other forms of skin cancer, ultraviolet (UV) light is the main factor for melanoma developing. UV light can come from the sun or artificial sources, such as tanning beds. Repeated sunburn can significantly increase the risk of cancer forming.

There are other melanoma causes too, including:

  • Moles– If you have a lot of moles, particularly if they are large or unusually shaped, you are at an increased risk of melanoma. According to the NHS, having just 1 mole that is large or unusually shaped increases your risk of melanoma by 60%.
  • Family history – If a close relative has had melanoma you are also more at risk. It’s estimated that around 10% of melanoma cases are linked to inherited genes.
  • Skin colour and freckles – Fair skinned people and those with lots of freckles are more likely to develop melanoma. Those that burn quickly in the sun are more at risk too.
Read less

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer refers to all cancers that begin in skin cells. Skin cancer is often categorised into two divisions – melanoma and non-melanoma – and is one of the most common cancers in the world. When the term ‘skin cancer’ is used, it typically refers to a non-melanoma type. More than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK.

Non-melanoma skin cancer often develops slowly in the upper layers of the skin, the epidermis. It includes basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, which account for 75% and 20% of skin cancers respectively, and other rare types of the disease. Skin cancer often appears on the skin that is regularly exposed to the sun.

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What causes skin cancer?

Most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA of the skin cells, resulting in the cells becoming abnormal and cancerous. Those that spend a lot of time in the sun are more likely to develop skin cancer as damage to the skin can occur over time. Repeated sunburnt, either from natural sunlight or artificial sources, such as those used on tanning beds, also increases the risk. The damage UV light causes to the skin can sometimes take years to become cancerous.

Other causes of skin cancer include:

  • Family history– While skin cancer isn’t hereditary, research does suggest that some types of cancer do run in families and can increase the risk of the disease developing. 
  • Age – Skin cancer can develop at any age but it is more common in older generations.
  • Previous skin cancer – Previously having skin cancer can increase your risk of it developing again. According to Cancer Research UK previously having melanoma means your risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancer is around 3 times higher than average and around 10 times higher if you’ve previously had non-melanoma skin cancer.

The NHS also lists certain factors that could increase the risk of developing all types of skin cancer including:

  • Pale skin that does not tan easily
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Blue eyes
  • A large number of moles
  • A large number of freckles
  • Skin that has been damaged by radiotherapy
  • Medicines that suppress the immune system
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as creosote and arsenic.
Read less

What are the symptoms of melanoma skin cancer?

The first melanoma signs are often changes to the appearance of the skin. Changes can occur in moles, freckles or simply a patch of skin but it’s often changes to moles that patients notice. Normal moles are usually round or oval, with a smooth edge and no bigger than 6mm. Changes in the size, shape and colour, especially if it happens within a few months, can indicate melanoma. Moles that bleed, itch or are painful should also be looked at by a GP.

Signs and symptoms of melanoma can also be evident in freckles and patches of skin. Melanomas can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the legs, arms, face and back. In rare cases, it can develop in the eye and in this case melanoma symptoms are more likely to be picked up during a routine eye examination, although you may notice changes in your vision beforehand.

Read less

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Skin cancer signs of non-melanoma skin cancer do vary slightly, depending on the type of cancer you have. The cancer often appears as a lump or discoloured patch of skin that doesn’t heal and typically occurs on areas that are regularly exposed to the sun.

  • Basal cell carcinoma – A small red or pink lump that can also be scaly or waxy looking is one of the signs of skin cancer. The lump grows slowly and, in some cases, can bleed, become crusty or develop into an ulcer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma –A firm pink lump that may be tender to touch, bleed easily, or develop into an ulcer could be the first sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Bowen’s disease –This very early form of skin cancer’s main sign is a red, scaly patch of skin that sometimes itches. Bowen’s disease develops slowly and is easily treatable.

How is melanoma diagnosed?

Melanoma is a rare condition that is usually diagnosed with an examination of the area by a GP to begin with. If they have a reason to be concerned, the patient is being referred to a specialist. According to NHS own guidelines, in some cases this should happen as quickly as 2 weeks. A specialist will then examine the mole or abnormal skin allowing patients to get a diagnosis of melanoma. A biopsy may also be carried out, where part of the mole is removed and tested for cancerous cells.

Diagnosing melanoma may require additional tests, especially if medical professionals believe that it could have spread to other areas of the body. These tests could include:

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Blood tests
Read less

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

If you notice any of the signs of skin cancer your first step should be to book an appointment with your GP. Your doctor will examine your skin and should they suspect skin cancer they will refer you to a specialist. Under NHS guidelines you may be referred as quickly as 2 weeks.

A specialist will be able to confirm a skin cancer diagnosis by carrying out a physical examination. They will usually support this diagnosis with a biopsy, where some of the skin cells are removed to be examined under a microscope to detect cancerous cells. During a biopsy, doctors will determine the type of skin cancer you have and the likelihood of it spreading.

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Can melanoma be misdiagnosed?

It is possible for melanoma to be misdiagnosed. It’s a rare form of skin cancer and this means that many GPs will not see the signs regularly. As a result, they often need to refer patients to a specialist in order to obtain a diagnosis of melanoma. However, if a GP fails to make a referral, it can lead to melanoma misdiagnosis. As melanoma can be very aggressive and spread quickly, this can have a devastating impact on the treatment needed and its success.

Occasionally, even specialists in skin cancer will make a mistake when diagnosing melanoma, missing the signs or reading test results wrong, which can lead to melanoma misdiagnosis.

Read less

How is melanoma treated?

The main treatment option for melanoma is surgery, but there are alternatives available and the exact treatment recommended will depend on each individual patient’s situation. Your care will be the responsibility of a team of experts who will work together to suggest the best treatment for melanoma in your case, considering the type of cancer you have and the stage of cancer, as well as your general health.

  • Surgery

Surgery is often used to treat melanoma and typically involves two operations, the first to remove the abnormal mole or skin and the second to remove healthy tissue that was around the area. If the cancer has spread, affecting the lymph nodes in the area, these may also be removed during the procedure.

  • Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy can be used as treatment of melanoma and it’s often done to complement surgery. It can also be used to relieve the symptoms of advanced melanoma.

Chemotherapy and biological therapy can also be used to treat the disease, but usually only if the cancer has reached the later stages and has begun to spread.

Read less

How is skin cancer treated?

Treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is usually successful, with more than 90% of patients recovering from the disease following treatment. The main skin cancer treatment is surgery, but treatment is recommended on an individual basis, considering how the cancer has developed and the type of cancer you have.

Skin cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgical excision

Surgical excision treatment for skin cancer involves cutting out the cancer along with a margin of healthy tissue to ensure the cancerous cells are completely removed. It can leave scaring but when done in combination with a skin graft this can be minimised.

  • Curettage and electrocautery

This procedure can only be used for the treatment of skin cancer where the cancer is small. It’s similar to surgical excision but uses an electric needle to remove the skin around the cancer area.

  • Cryotherapy

Using freezing technology, it is possible to use cold treatment for skin cancer during the early stages of the disease, effectively freezing the cancer and causing that area of the skin to scab and eventually fall off.

  • Mohs micrographic surgery

If doctors feel that there is a high chance of the non-melanoma skin cancer spreading or if it’s an area where they want to remove as little skin as possible, Mohs micrographic surgery may be considered. It removes the tumour in smaller stages, reducing the risk of scarring and minimising the removal of healthy tissue while treating skin cancer by testing each bit of the tissue that has been removed.

In some cases chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, imiquimod cream, radiotherapy or electrotherapy may be recommended as possible alternatives, such as when surgery is not an option or has been unsuccessful.

Read less

What are the different types of melanoma?

There are several different types of melanoma skin cancer that can have different signs and symptoms and spread at different rates. However, they are usually treated in the same way, with surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Melanoma doesn’t necessarily have to occur on the skin but it’s very rare for it to start in the body.

  • Superficial spreading melanoma

This is the most common type of melanoma. It has a very low risk of spreading to other areas of the body as it grows outwards, rather than downwards and as a result it doesn’t initially affect deeper layers of the skin.

  • Nodular melanoma

Nodular melanoma can spread quickly, if it isn’t diagnosed and treated straightaway. It’s often characterised by a raised area on the skin and is usually dark brown or black in colour. It’s often found on skin that’s only exposed to the sun occasionally and may not develop from a mole that was already there.

  • Lentigo maligna melanoma

More common on areas of the skin that are often exposed to the sun, like the face, lentigo maligna grows outwards in the surface layer of the skin, going deeper into the skin’s layers as it becomes cancerous.

Other types of melanoma do occur, but these are rare and include acral lantiginous melanoma and amelanotic melanoma.

Read less

What are the different types of skin cancer?

Skin cancer can come in different forms and is general split into 3 main skin cancer types, including melanoma. The other 2 forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which are referred to as non-melanoma skin cancer. There are other skin cancer types but these are rare and combined account of less than 3% of skin cancer cases in the UK.

  • Basal cell carcinoma

Around three quarters of all skin cancer diagnoses are basal cell carcinoma. It’s a very treatable type of skin cancer because it grows slowly and doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body and grows slowly. Again this means that it is typically fairly simple to treat.

Read less

What is the melanoma survival rate?

Skin cancer statistics show that around 90% of people diagnosed with melanoma will survive their disease for more than 10 years after diagnosis. However, how treatable the disease is depends on many factors, including the general health of the patient and the type of cancer they have.

How quickly a patient is diagnosed and begins treatment plays a significant role in the statistics. For instance, almost everyone will survive their cancer for 5 years or more, if it’s diagnosed at stage 1. But the figures fall as the cancer develops and spreads. If diagnosed at stage 3 around half of men and women will survive their disease for 5 years of more.

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What is the skin cancer survival rate?

Non-melanoma skin cancer is very treatable and as it does not typically spread quickly, many diagnosed will be completely cured. Through treatment, including surgery, those with non-melanoma skin cancers are often expected to make a full recovery.

If you’ve been affected by skin cancer misdiagnosis it may be possible to make a claim. In order to be successful you will need to demonstrate that you have been let down by the healthcare system and did not receive the level of care that you were entitled to. Misdiagnosis of skin cancer, including skin cancer and melanoma, can have serious consequences for the patient’s treatment, as well as their mental wellbeing and financial state.

  • Skin cancer misdiagnosis claims can be based on many different factor, including:
  • Failure to diagnose signs and symptoms of skin cancer
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to refer a patient with suspected skin cancer quickly enough
  • The necessary tests not being ordered
  • Inaccurate reading of test results
Read less

Skin cancer compensation depends upon how you personally have been affected by the misdiagnosis and what you have personally lost in terms of earnings and financial costs. All medical claims are given a value based on each individual experience of the patient. As a result, it’s not possible to tell you how much you can expect to receive in missed skin cancer diagnosis compensation at the outset. Our expert team are on hand and will take the time to listen to you r experiences and to understand what you went through. Based on the information you give us we are then able to value your case, reflecting the undue suffering that medical negligence has caused you.

If you believe you have a case for missed skin cancer diagnosis compensation, you have 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’. The ‘date of knowledge’ refers to when you first realised that a mistake had been made in your treatment and level of care. This is usually when you are diagnosed with melanoma or another form of skin cancer and for some patients this can be a long time after they first approached their GP with concerns and they could have even started their treatment at this point.

The time limits around medical claims can be confusing. If you would like more information, or if you would like to see if you are within the time limit to make a claim, we can help you. Our experienced team will be able to use their knowledge to help you pinpoint how long you have to make a claim.

While you do have 3 years to make a claim, we strongly recommend that you start the process as soon as possible. We appreciate that this can be a daunting prospect, but it can make gathering the evidence to investigate your case much easier, giving your compensation for delayed diagnosis claim the best possible chance of success.

Read less

Melanoma has become one of the fastest growing types of cancer in the UK, with skin cancer rates now 4 times higher than they were in the 70’s. While this is partly down to improved awareness and early diagnosis, exposure to the sun and holidays to warmer climates are likely to have played a role, too. Like with other forms of skin cancer, ultraviolet (UV) light is the main factor for melanoma developing. UV light can come from the sun or artificial sources, such as tanning beds. Repeated sunburn can significantly increase the risk of cancer forming.

There are other melanoma causes too, including:

  • Moles– If you have a lot of moles, particularly if they are large or unusually shaped, you are at an increased risk of melanoma. According to the NHS, having just 1 mole that is large or unusually shaped increases your risk of melanoma by 60%.
  • Family history – If a close relative has had melanoma you are also more at risk. It’s estimated that around 10% of melanoma cases are linked to inherited genes.
  • Skin colour and freckles – Fair skinned people and those with lots of freckles are more likely to develop melanoma. Those that burn quickly in the sun are more at risk too.
Read less

Skin cancer refers to all cancers that begin in skin cells. Skin cancer is often categorised into two divisions – melanoma and non-melanoma – and is one of the most common cancers in the world. When the term ‘skin cancer’ is used, it typically refers to a non-melanoma type. More than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK.

Non-melanoma skin cancer often develops slowly in the upper layers of the skin, the epidermis. It includes basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, which account for 75% and 20% of skin cancers respectively, and other rare types of the disease. Skin cancer often appears on the skin that is regularly exposed to the sun.

Read less

Most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA of the skin cells, resulting in the cells becoming abnormal and cancerous. Those that spend a lot of time in the sun are more likely to develop skin cancer as damage to the skin can occur over time. Repeated sunburnt, either from natural sunlight or artificial sources, such as those used on tanning beds, also increases the risk. The damage UV light causes to the skin can sometimes take years to become cancerous.

Other causes of skin cancer include:

  • Family history– While skin cancer isn’t hereditary, research does suggest that some types of cancer do run in families and can increase the risk of the disease developing. 
  • Age – Skin cancer can develop at any age but it is more common in older generations.
  • Previous skin cancer – Previously having skin cancer can increase your risk of it developing again. According to Cancer Research UK previously having melanoma means your risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancer is around 3 times higher than average and around 10 times higher if you’ve previously had non-melanoma skin cancer.

The NHS also lists certain factors that could increase the risk of developing all types of skin cancer including:

  • Pale skin that does not tan easily
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Blue eyes
  • A large number of moles
  • A large number of freckles
  • Skin that has been damaged by radiotherapy
  • Medicines that suppress the immune system
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as creosote and arsenic.
Read less

The first melanoma signs are often changes to the appearance of the skin. Changes can occur in moles, freckles or simply a patch of skin but it’s often changes to moles that patients notice. Normal moles are usually round or oval, with a smooth edge and no bigger than 6mm. Changes in the size, shape and colour, especially if it happens within a few months, can indicate melanoma. Moles that bleed, itch or are painful should also be looked at by a GP.

Signs and symptoms of melanoma can also be evident in freckles and patches of skin. Melanomas can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the legs, arms, face and back. In rare cases, it can develop in the eye and in this case melanoma symptoms are more likely to be picked up during a routine eye examination, although you may notice changes in your vision beforehand.

Read less

Skin cancer signs of non-melanoma skin cancer do vary slightly, depending on the type of cancer you have. The cancer often appears as a lump or discoloured patch of skin that doesn’t heal and typically occurs on areas that are regularly exposed to the sun.

  • Basal cell carcinoma – A small red or pink lump that can also be scaly or waxy looking is one of the signs of skin cancer. The lump grows slowly and, in some cases, can bleed, become crusty or develop into an ulcer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma –A firm pink lump that may be tender to touch, bleed easily, or develop into an ulcer could be the first sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Bowen’s disease –This very early form of skin cancer’s main sign is a red, scaly patch of skin that sometimes itches. Bowen’s disease develops slowly and is easily treatable.

Melanoma is a rare condition that is usually diagnosed with an examination of the area by a GP to begin with. If they have a reason to be concerned, the patient is being referred to a specialist. According to NHS own guidelines, in some cases this should happen as quickly as 2 weeks. A specialist will then examine the mole or abnormal skin allowing patients to get a diagnosis of melanoma. A biopsy may also be carried out, where part of the mole is removed and tested for cancerous cells.

Diagnosing melanoma may require additional tests, especially if medical professionals believe that it could have spread to other areas of the body. These tests could include:

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Blood tests
Read less

If you notice any of the signs of skin cancer your first step should be to book an appointment with your GP. Your doctor will examine your skin and should they suspect skin cancer they will refer you to a specialist. Under NHS guidelines you may be referred as quickly as 2 weeks.

A specialist will be able to confirm a skin cancer diagnosis by carrying out a physical examination. They will usually support this diagnosis with a biopsy, where some of the skin cells are removed to be examined under a microscope to detect cancerous cells. During a biopsy, doctors will determine the type of skin cancer you have and the likelihood of it spreading.

Read less

It is possible for melanoma to be misdiagnosed. It’s a rare form of skin cancer and this means that many GPs will not see the signs regularly. As a result, they often need to refer patients to a specialist in order to obtain a diagnosis of melanoma. However, if a GP fails to make a referral, it can lead to melanoma misdiagnosis. As melanoma can be very aggressive and spread quickly, this can have a devastating impact on the treatment needed and its success.

Occasionally, even specialists in skin cancer will make a mistake when diagnosing melanoma, missing the signs or reading test results wrong, which can lead to melanoma misdiagnosis.

Read less

The main treatment option for melanoma is surgery, but there are alternatives available and the exact treatment recommended will depend on each individual patient’s situation. Your care will be the responsibility of a team of experts who will work together to suggest the best treatment for melanoma in your case, considering the type of cancer you have and the stage of cancer, as well as your general health.

  • Surgery

Surgery is often used to treat melanoma and typically involves two operations, the first to remove the abnormal mole or skin and the second to remove healthy tissue that was around the area. If the cancer has spread, affecting the lymph nodes in the area, these may also be removed during the procedure.

  • Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy can be used as treatment of melanoma and it’s often done to complement surgery. It can also be used to relieve the symptoms of advanced melanoma.

Chemotherapy and biological therapy can also be used to treat the disease, but usually only if the cancer has reached the later stages and has begun to spread.

Read less

Treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is usually successful, with more than 90% of patients recovering from the disease following treatment. The main skin cancer treatment is surgery, but treatment is recommended on an individual basis, considering how the cancer has developed and the type of cancer you have.

Skin cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgical excision

Surgical excision treatment for skin cancer involves cutting out the cancer along with a margin of healthy tissue to ensure the cancerous cells are completely removed. It can leave scaring but when done in combination with a skin graft this can be minimised.

  • Curettage and electrocautery

This procedure can only be used for the treatment of skin cancer where the cancer is small. It’s similar to surgical excision but uses an electric needle to remove the skin around the cancer area.

  • Cryotherapy

Using freezing technology, it is possible to use cold treatment for skin cancer during the early stages of the disease, effectively freezing the cancer and causing that area of the skin to scab and eventually fall off.

  • Mohs micrographic surgery

If doctors feel that there is a high chance of the non-melanoma skin cancer spreading or if it’s an area where they want to remove as little skin as possible, Mohs micrographic surgery may be considered. It removes the tumour in smaller stages, reducing the risk of scarring and minimising the removal of healthy tissue while treating skin cancer by testing each bit of the tissue that has been removed.

In some cases chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, imiquimod cream, radiotherapy or electrotherapy may be recommended as possible alternatives, such as when surgery is not an option or has been unsuccessful.

Read less

There are several different types of melanoma skin cancer that can have different signs and symptoms and spread at different rates. However, they are usually treated in the same way, with surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Melanoma doesn’t necessarily have to occur on the skin but it’s very rare for it to start in the body.

  • Superficial spreading melanoma

This is the most common type of melanoma. It has a very low risk of spreading to other areas of the body as it grows outwards, rather than downwards and as a result it doesn’t initially affect deeper layers of the skin.

  • Nodular melanoma

Nodular melanoma can spread quickly, if it isn’t diagnosed and treated straightaway. It’s often characterised by a raised area on the skin and is usually dark brown or black in colour. It’s often found on skin that’s only exposed to the sun occasionally and may not develop from a mole that was already there.

  • Lentigo maligna melanoma

More common on areas of the skin that are often exposed to the sun, like the face, lentigo maligna grows outwards in the surface layer of the skin, going deeper into the skin’s layers as it becomes cancerous.

Other types of melanoma do occur, but these are rare and include acral lantiginous melanoma and amelanotic melanoma.

Read less

Skin cancer can come in different forms and is general split into 3 main skin cancer types, including melanoma. The other 2 forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which are referred to as non-melanoma skin cancer. There are other skin cancer types but these are rare and combined account of less than 3% of skin cancer cases in the UK.

  • Basal cell carcinoma

Around three quarters of all skin cancer diagnoses are basal cell carcinoma. It’s a very treatable type of skin cancer because it grows slowly and doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body and grows slowly. Again this means that it is typically fairly simple to treat.

Read less

Skin cancer statistics show that around 90% of people diagnosed with melanoma will survive their disease for more than 10 years after diagnosis. However, how treatable the disease is depends on many factors, including the general health of the patient and the type of cancer they have.

How quickly a patient is diagnosed and begins treatment plays a significant role in the statistics. For instance, almost everyone will survive their cancer for 5 years or more, if it’s diagnosed at stage 1. But the figures fall as the cancer develops and spreads. If diagnosed at stage 3 around half of men and women will survive their disease for 5 years of more.

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Non-melanoma skin cancer is very treatable and as it does not typically spread quickly, many diagnosed will be completely cured. Through treatment, including surgery, those with non-melanoma skin cancers are often expected to make a full recovery.