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Skin Cancer Symptoms

Different types of skin cancer present different skin cancer symptoms but it's important to remember that whatever the type of skin cancer, early detection is important. Being familiar with your skin, i.e. how it looks and feels, is important in identifying the symptoms of skin cancer early

Non melanoma skin cancer signs

When people think of skin cancer, they most commonly think of abnormal moles but non-melanoma skin cancer can take several forms. Non melanoma skin cancer signs to look out for include:

  • A white, red or pink lump that doesn’t disappear after 4 weeks.
  • Discoloured patches on the skin that doesn’t heal after 4 weeks.
  • A scaly or crusty patch of skin that doesn’t heal after 4 weeks.
  • A sore or scab that bleeds, hurts or itches and hasn’t healed after 4 weeks.
  • An ulcer that doesn’t heal.

Melanoma symptoms

There are some clear signs that a mole could be a melanoma. You should get medical advice if you have a mole that is showing any of the following melanoma symptoms:

  • Growing
  • Changing shape particularly if it has an irregular edge.
  • Getting darker, has multiple shades or is patchy.
  • Not symmetrical.
  • Itching or bleeding.
  • Painful.
  • Inflamed or crusty.

There is a simple ABCD rule for moles:

  • Asymmetry: the two halves of your mole do not look the same.
  • Border: the edges of your mole are irregular, blurred or jagged.
  • Colour: the colour of your mole is uneven, with more than one shade.
  • Diameter: your mole is wider than 6 mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser).

For more information on skin awareness watch our "what to look for when examining moles" video.

To see what abnormal moles and lesions look like and see more about the ABCD rule, refer to our skin cancer pictures.

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