There are three main categories of skin cancer,
Basal cell cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. It is slow growing and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It is sometimes referred to as a “rodent ulcer”. There are a number of ways to treat BCC- the most common treatment is surgical removal under local anaesthetic. Sometimes topical treatments are more appropriate and sometimes radiotherapy is needed.
Squamous cell cancer is also generally slower growing but if it isn’t caught in the early stages it does have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Occasionally and SCC can behave aggressively and spread quickly, but this is unusual.
Melanoma is less common than BCC and SCC but it is a more unpredictable cancer. If caught early there is a very good chance of cure but some melanomas behave aggressively and spread to the rest of the body.
Sarcoma is a cancer that arises from the bone or connective tissue.
Sarcoma is managed at specialist centres and the most local specialist centre for Berkshire sarcoma patients is the Nuffield orthopaedic centre and part of the Oxford University Hospitals (OUH). Patients in the Berkshire area who are diagnosed with sarcoma will have their case discussed at the Oxford sarcoma specialist Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) and will most likely be treated and managed by the OUH team.
The skin cancer nursing service also offers support to patients who are undergoing tests for suspected or who are known to have sarcoma and will be admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital while undergoing treatment. We act as a service to facilitate communication between the sarcoma patient and their specialist centre and also to offer support to patients and their families.
We aim to support you and your family from diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. The majority of skin cancers are caused by radiation damage, secondary to sun exposure or sunbed use. The skin cancer nurses role is to support patients and educate them about sun safety and skin surveillance. We also offer the Macmillan holistic needs assessment and sign posting.
Mary Hill and Kate Ford- Clinical Nurse Specialists for skin cancers
Mary Hill and Kate Ford are based at the Royal Berkshire cancer centre and work Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) 8.30am – 4.30pm. We can be contacted by the telephone, pager and email.
Telephone: 0118 3227271 (answer machine available)
Melanoma UK: www.melanomauk.org.uk
Melanoma Focus: www.melanomafocus.com
SKcin - The Karen Clifford skin cancer charity: www.skcin.org
Oxford University Hospitals pathway co-ordinator: 01865 738042