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
- Change in size
- Change in shape
- Change in colour
If you experience any of the above see your doctor immediately.
- 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
- Irregular border
- Mix of colours
- 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.
CARE IN THE SUN
Anyone can develop skin cancer, whatever their skin colour. However, certain skin types are more at risk from the effects of UV radiation than others.
Too much ultraviolet (UV) light, either from natural sunlight or from artificial sources such as sunbeds, is the main cause of 80% of skin cancers.
Sunbeds, tanning booths and sun lamps give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your skin and can make it look wrinkled, older or leathery.