Could I have Melanoma?

About skin cancer

Skin cancer is very common in England. There are two main types of skin cancer: the more common but less serious non-melanoma, (basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas) and malignant melanoma, often just called melanoma.

Most people diagnosed with skin cancer are over 50, but anyone can develop skin cancer.

You're more likely to get it if you have any of the following:

  • lots of moles or freckles
  • fair skin that burns easily
  • red or fair hair
  • light-coloured eyes
  • a history of sunburn
  • a personal or family history of skin cancer

Changes to a mole or freckle can be a sign of melanoma, which is why it's so important to either send in a photograph or book an appointment to see a  doctor straight away. Early detection makes it easier to treat. Please be in touch, it could save your save your life.

 

What do I look for?

The most common sign of melanoma is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin. It's important to know your skin and what it looks like normally so you notice any unusual or persistent changes. Use a mirror, or ask your partner or a friend to check the areas of your skin that you can't see.

Below are some things to look out for in melanoma skin cancer. Please be aware that not all skin cancers look like this. These pictures are just examples and are not to scale.

 

Symmetry

The two sides don't look the same.                                

symmetry

Border

Irregular border (edges may be blurred or jagged)

border

Colour

Uneven colour, with more than one shade.

colour

Size

Large, usually at least the size of the end of a pencil.

size

Images courtesy of Cancer Research UK

 

Are there other symptoms of skin cancer?

A change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin is a common sign of skin cancer, but there are also other signs to be aware of, including:

  • a new growth or sore that doesn’t heal
  • a spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts
  • a mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs
  • If you notice any of these signs, please be in touch. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, please insist they see their doctor.
  • For information on the other, more common forms of skin cancer -
  • Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (as well as precancerous lesions) , find out more

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