Skin cancers can be either melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers. The vast majority of deaths from skin cancer are from melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancers are usually basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) or squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Non-melanoma skin cancers are found more commonly on sun exposed areas such as the face or forearms.
Skin cancer is often found by a person noticing a change in their skin or a skin lesion, such as a mole. For skin cancers to be diagnosed earlier, all Australians, particularly those more at risk of skin cancer, should regularly check their skin for any changes.
A useful online calculator has been developed that enables you to work out your likely skin type, what sun precautions you should be taking and how often you should get your skin checked by a doctor.
Skin cancer is diagnosed by physical examination and biopsy.
A biopsy is a quick and simple procedure where part or all of the spot is removed and sent to a laboratory. It may be done by your family doctor or you can be referred to a dermatologist or surgeon. Results may take about a week to be ready.
Last reviewed: September 2016