Skin Cancer

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Check Your Skin

How to check your skin

Early detection of skin cancer is very important so you should check your skin about once a month. You should get someone to help check your back.

Signs and symptoms include a new growth or sore that does not heal in 3-4 weeks, a sore that continues to itch, scab or bleed, or unexplained continued ulceration.

‘If in doubt, get it checked out’ by a GP.

Signs and symptoms

A check list of signs and symptoms for melanoma:

  • Normal – people do have moles and freckles
  • Asymmetry – one half unlike the other in shape
  • Border – irregular scalloped or poorly defined
  • Bleeding – bleeding, oozing or crusting
  • Colour – varied shades of tan, brown, black, sometimes red, white or blue
  • Diameter – a change in size

Other changes in the skin – itchiness, tenderness, softening, hardening.
*missing PHA infographic*

Check list for moles

Major Signs

  • Change in size
  • Change in shape
  • Change in colour

If you experience any of the above see your doctor immediately.

Minor Signs

  • Inflammation
  • Crusting or bleeding
  • Sensory change e.g. itching or tingling

If these signs do not return back to normal within two weeks, see your doctor.

Examples of malignant melanoma 

  • Superficial Spreading malignant melanoma
    • Asymmetric
    • Irregular border
    • Mix of colours
  • Melanoma
    • Arising in a pre-existing mole
  • Lentigo malignant melanoma
    •  often seen on sun-exposed sites on elderly people
  • Subungal melanoma
    • That is melanoma under the nail – remember to look at your finger and toe nails

Always remember, know your skin and know what is normal for you.

If you are concerned about a skin lesion see your GP who will refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.

Note to GPs: If you believe a lesion to be a malignant melanoma, or even just suspect it, it is a dermatological emergency. Refer immediately either by phone or urgent letter. With early treatment a total cure is possible.