What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer in Cayman and elsewhere develops in the skin’s tissues. Cancer of the basal cell or squamous cell type develops in cells that do not produce pigment. Both types of skin cancer are most common on the face, neck, hands, arms, and legs after being exposed to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

Skin cancer is more frequent than all other malignancies combined, and its incidence is increasing at a quicker rate than any other malignancy.


Commonest Cancer Worldwide

1 in 5 people in the US will develop skin cancer by age 70

Melanoma is Deadly Serious

5+ sunburns doubles your risk of getting melanoma

Early Identification is Critical

98+% survival at 5 years if detected whilst localised

Basic Types

Skin cancer can develop in either basal or squamous cells. The most frequent kinds of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer is another name for it. Actinic keratosis is a type of keratosis that can progress to squamous cell cancer.

Melanoma is uncommon compared to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It has a higher chance of infiltrating surrounding tissues and spreading to other sections of the body.


Skin Cancer in the Cayman Islands

We are fortunate in the Cayman Islands to have an incredibly sunny climate and a healthy appreciation of the outdoors. Unfortunately, this also increases the risk of skin cancer. Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays with appropriate clothing and high-factor sun creams is critical.

It’s also critical to keep an eye out for indicators of skin cancer and consider getting checked, such as with a yearly body map or mole-mapping, as we call.

As a small island with limited advanced cancer treatment options, the difference between early and late detection is having a local, straightforward excision of a lesion against an extended stay at a cancer center in Florida, for example. Early detection of skin cancer pays off in every aspect.

Risk Factors

The following is a partial list of factors that may enhance a person’s chances of developing skin cancer (Ref. Mayo Clinic):

  • Fair skin
  • A history of sunburns
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Sunny or high-altitude climates
  • Moles
  • Precancerous skin lesions
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Weakened immune system
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to certain substances

These risk factors increase the need for attention and may necessitate a more regular screening or follow-up program.


Melanoma can appear anywhere on your body, in otherwise healthy skin or as a malignant mole in an existing mole. More than 70% of melanoma cases are ‘de novo,’ meaning they develop without the presence of a nevus (mole). Impacted men’s faces and trunks are the most commonly affected areas. This form of cancer most commonly affects women’s lower legs. Melanoma can develop on skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun in both men and women.

Melanoma can strike anyone with any skin tone. Melanoma is more common in the palms and soles of those with darker skin tones, as well as under the fingernails and toenails.

Melanoma signs include:

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles
  • A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus

If you have these risk factors, it may be a good idea to book a screening.

If you have active symptoms described above, it is important to consult your dermatologist as early as possible.


Previously, a dermatologist would painstakingly examine and photograph each mole before allocating it to a bodily part on a computer. This can now be done in just a few minutes because to developments in imaging technology and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). When you return for your next scan, our cutting-edge Body Mapping System analyzes the images for suspicious areas and saves them for future reference and change analysis.

Methods of Detection

Dr Alison Duncan and Dr Davide Altamura, our skilled dermatologists, examine lesions or regions of skin that merit additional research after our technology has identified them. She will examine the skin and architecture of moles with high magnification dermoscopy. After that, you may be scheduled for a follow-up examination, a biopsy for analysis, or a mole removal procedure.


Dr Davide Altamura

Specialist Dermatologist
MD Dermato-Surgery
Tel: +1 (345) 745 7450 (clinic)
Email: davide.altamura@caymandermatology.ky

Dr David Altamura is a highly accomplished general and specialty consultant dermatologist and dermatology surgeon, with a special interest, awards and several publications in the field of skin cancer and in particular Dermoscopy and the diagnosis of both malignant and benign skin lesions.


  • Adult & Paediatric Dermatology
  • Skin Cancer Screening & Management
  • Expert Dermoscopy Services
  • Dermatology Surgery, Procedures & Biopsies
  • Management of Acute & Chronic Conditions

Discover More »


Dr Alison Duncan

Specialist Dermatologist
Tel: +1 (345) 745 7450 (clinic)
Email: alison.duncan@caymandermatology.ky

Dr Alison Duncan is a consultant dermatologist with more than 12 years of experience as a consultant, including 7 years at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, a well-known university hospital. She has extensive experience with skin concerns including darker skin colors, as well as a keen interest in skin cancer.


  • Adult & Paediatric Dermatology
  • Skin Cancer Screening & Management
  • Allergic, Autoimmune & Other Skin Conditions
  • Procedures, Biopsies & Cryotherapy
  • Genital or Vulval Skin Conditions

Discover More »

Clinic Location & Open Times

The Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre, Hibiscus Way, 802 West Bay Road.

  • Monday to Friday: 8.30am first appointment, 4.30pm last appointment
  • Saturday: 8.30am first appointment, 12.30pm last appointment