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Introduction

Skin cancer is the most common type of malignant carcinoma and accounts for about 1/3 of all diagnosed carcinomas. Altogether, after breast cancer, skin cancers are second most common type of disease in case of women and in case of men third, after the lung and prostate cancer. In recent years the number of registered skin cancer cases has been growing at an annual rate of 10 – 15%.

Skin carcinomas are most common in people who live in hot countries and are exposed to the sun’s UV radiation. This can be explained by the fact that the most important etiological factor of this disease is the ultraviolet radiation (UV) emitted by the sun and also by various other sources, for example tanning beds. In recent decades there has been a rapid growth in cancer morbidity, also in Northern and Central European countries. The increasing prevalence of cancer incidence is connected with the ever more intensive exposure to the UV radiation, e.g. due to the change in the ways of spending free time or the sun-tanned skin being in the vogue.

Skin carcinomas may occur on the entire skin surface of a patient, although they most often appear in the most exposed areas. Despite being locally malignant and rarely metastatic these carcinomas pose a significant threat due to their frequency and location. It is because their main clinical feature is the neighboring tissue infiltration and damage of the surrounding structures. With regard to this fact skin carcinomas contribute to serious cosmetic defects which have a considerable influence on patients’ quality of life.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most frequent type of cancer. Second most common is the squamous cell carcinoma. Other malignant carcinomas such as the melanoma and the Merkel cell carcinoma are much less frequent yet they account for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.

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