What are the early stages of skin cancer?


People at risk of Skin Cancer because of sun exposure

Early stage skin cancer may resemble a small spot or discoloured blemish which can be very tiny. It may be reddish, pink, brown, or even white, scar-like or just a different texture. It may be itchy or tender and many do not cause any symptoms at all.


The most common cause of skin cancer is prolonged overexposure to the sun, sometimes over a period of years, but skin cancer can also develop on areas of your skin not exposed to sunlight. Skin cancer develops when mutations occur in the DNA of skin cells.


There are three main types of skin cancer; basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Other, rare forms of skin cancer also exist. Skin cancer starts in the epidermis, which is the top layer of your skin. This top layer contains three main types of cells;

  • Squamous cells that function as the inner lining of the skin.

  • Basal cells, which produce new skin cells and exist below the squamous cells.

  • Melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, a pigment that gives skin its normal colour. These are deeper in the epidermis.

You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at an early stage. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for successful skin cancer treatment.

''From my experience over the years, the majority of skin cancers are not reported by my patients at the time of examination. Interestingly about 20% of melanoma's are not the typical black mole seen on social media and television, but rather much more subtle and often pink" (Dr Nada Rohde)

If you have noticed a non healing sore, changing mole, abnormal or new spot, change, or abnormal skin texture, you need to get a skin check with either your GP, Dermatologist or an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor.


Dr Rohde is an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor practicing in Bowral with many years of experience in skin cancer detection and management. She will examine your skin and identify the cause and prepare a plan of treatment. Most skin cancers respond favourably to treatment especially when detected early enough.