Spotting Skin Cancer
How to spot skin cancer
The most common sign of skin cancer is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.
It’s important to get to know your skin and what it looks like normally, so that you notice any unusual or persistent changes. Use a mirror or ask your partner or a friend to check areas of your skin that you can’t see.
Symptoms of melanoma
The first sign of a melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
Normal moles are usually round or oval, with a smooth edge, and no bigger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
See your GP as soon as possible if you notice changes in a mole, freckle or patch of skin, especially if the changes happen over a few weeks or months.
Signs to look out for include a mole that is:
- getting bigger
- changing shape
- changing colour
- bleeding or becoming crusty
- itchy or painful
If you would like to ask me about any lumps / bumps or moles then please ask me today. Free email advice from a real doctor.
Dr Helen Webberley MBChB MRCGP MFSRH
GP and Reproductive Health Specialist
Dr Webberley is an NHS GP in South Wales and also runs a private General Practice service online.
A helpful way to tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma is the ABCDE checklist:
- Asymmetrical – melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape.
- Border – melanomas have a notched or ragged border.
- Colours – melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours.
- Diameter – melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
- Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.
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