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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a growing concern in Malaysia, particularly among fair-skinned individuals who are at higher risk of developing the disease. Malaysia’s tropical climate and location near the equator also contribute to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a known risk factor for skin cancer. According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry, skin cancer is the third most common cancer in Malaysia, after breast and colorectal cancer. In 2012, there were 1,541 cases of skin cancer diagnosed in Malaysia, with the majority of cases occurring in individuals aged 50 and above.

The most common types of skin cancer in Malaysia are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which are both non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is less common in Malaysia, but its incidence is increasing. In Malaysia, skin cancer is more common among men than women, and the highest incidence is seen in the Chinese population. This may be due to genetic factors, as well as cultural preferences for fair skin, which may lead to increased sun exposure and a higher risk of skin cancer.

To combat the growing problem of skin cancer in Malaysia, public health campaigns have been launched to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection and early detection. The Malaysian Ministry of Health has also developed guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer, and encourages individuals to practice sun safety measures, such as wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and using sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF). Overall, while skin cancer is a significant health issue in Malaysia, it is a preventable and treatable disease. By taking steps to protect the skin from sun damage and seeking medical attention for any suspicious skin changes, individuals can reduce their risk of developing skin cancer and improve their chances of successful treatment.



There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for approximately 80% of all cases. It usually appears as a small, shiny bump or a red, scaly patch of skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is less common than basal cell carcinoma, but it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. It typically appears as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, but it is the most dangerous. It can spread rapidly to other parts of the body and can be deadly if not treated early. Melanoma usually appears as a dark, irregularly shaped mole or lesion.


The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, which can lead to the development of cancer. Other factors that can increase the risk of developing skin cancer include having a weakened immune system, having a history of skin cancer, having a family history of skin cancer, and having certain types of moles.


  • A new growth or sore that doesn’t heal: Skin cancers may appear as a bump or sore that doesn’t go away or heal, even after a few weeks.

  • A change in an existing mole: If you have a mole on your skin, watch for changes in its size, shape, color, or texture. Moles that are asymmetrical or have irregular borders, uneven color, or a diameter larger than a pencil eraser should be checked by a doctor.

  • Itching, bleeding, or crusting: Skin cancers may cause the skin to become itchy, scaly, or crusty. If a sore or growth bleeds, oozes, or becomes crusty, it may be a sign of skin cancer.

  • Redness or swelling: Skin cancers may cause the skin to become red, swollen, or tender to the touch.

  • Dark or black streaks under the nails: Skin cancers can also develop under the nails, and may appear as dark or black streaks.

Not all skin changes are cancerous, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get any suspicious areas checked out. Additionally, regular skin checks and screenings can help with early detection of skin cancer, before any symptoms may appear.


The treatment for skin cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. For early-stage skin cancer, surgery may be the only treatment needed. For more advanced skin cancer, other treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy may be recommended. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be used.


The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from UV radiation. This can be done by wearing protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. It is also important to avoid tanning beds, which emit high levels of UV radiation. Regular skin checks and screenings are also important for early detection of skin cancer.

In conclusion, skin cancer is a serious health issue that affects millions of people each year. Understanding the risk factors and taking steps to protect your skin from UV radiation can help prevent skin cancer. Early detection and treatment are also important for improving outcomes and increasing survival rates. If you have any concerns about your skin, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional.