Spotting the signs of skin cancer

This is what to look for when checking your skin for any signs of skin cancer.

Doctor holding sign saying skin cancer

It makes sense that the sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better (and safer) it is for your health – and life.

So if you haven’t already, get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so you can pick up any changes. You are more likely to see a skin cancer rather than feel it, as it doesn’t usually hurt.

These are some changes to look for when checking your skin for any signs of skin cancer:

  • new moles
  • moles that increase in size
  • an outline of a mole that becomes notched
  • a spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied
  • a spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it
  • a mole’s surface becomes rough, scaly or ulcerated
  • moles that itch or tingle
  • moles that bleed or weep
  • spots that look different from the others.

So, how do you check your skin? Here are some pointers from Cancer Council Australia:

  • Be sure to check your body all over, as skin cancers can sometimes occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun – e.g. soles of the feet, between fingers and toes and under nails
  • Undress completely and make sure there is good lighting in the room
  • Use a mirror to check hard-to-see spots, such as your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check those areas for you.

Read more at Cancer Council Australia, with helpful images.

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