If you notice anything unusual on your skin that doesn’t go away in four weeks, show it to your doctor. This could include:
- A spot or sore that does not heal.
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab, crust or bleed.
- Areas where the skin has broken down, become an ulcer and does not heal.
It’s also important to check your moles on a regular basis. You should see your GP if you notice a mole that is:
- Getting bigger.
- Changing shape, particularly getting an irregular edge.
- Changing colour – getting darker, becoming patchy or multi shaded.
- Loss of symmetry - the two halves of your mole do not look the same.
- Itchy or painful (for over 4 weeks).
- Bleeding or becoming crusty (for over 4 weeks).
- New and looks inflamed.
It might help to take a photograph of anything unusual so you can check for any changes over time. If you have an IPhone you may find the free 'Embarrassing Bodies – My Mole Checker' app a helpful tool.
Remember, there are many other skin conditions, so if you or someone you know has one of the symptoms above, it doesn’t mean it's cancer – it could be something else that needs treatment. Either way, the earlier you see your GP, the better.
Worried about a friend or family member?
If you know anyone with any of these symptoms, encourage them to visit their doctor. It’s probably nothing serious but it could be a sign of something that needs treatment.
1.There are two types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma, which is less common but more serious; and non-melanoma skin cancer, which is very common but not so serious.
2.Incidence rates of skin cancer have increased by 15% over the last 10 years.
3.In 2016, 1,383 cases of malignant melanoma were diagnosed in Scotland.
4.Sun beds increase the risk of skin cancer by 75%.