Skin cancer is best detected early for a greater chance of survival. What does the condition look like? And how can you tell if you have it?
Melanoma skin cancer is a form of the disease that is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
This process is called metastasis, and it reduces a person’s chances of survival from the disease.
Melanoma is caused by skin cells that begin to develop abnormally.
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The majority of cases result from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun – especially sunburn.
One way to identify skin cancer is to look for any new, changing or unusual moles on the body.
What are moles?
Moles are typically harmless, small coloured spots on the skin.
They can be flat or raised, feel smooth or rough and can even have hair growing out of them.
It’s when the moles on your skin start to change shape, colour, size or itch that alarm bells should be ringing.
There’s a way to remember what to look out for: it’s called the ABCDEs of melanoma.
The first five letters of the alphabet are a guide to help you recognise the warning signs of the disease.
A – Asymmetry
Harmless moles are symmetrical – meaning if you drew a line through the middle of it, both halves would look the same.
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But melanomas wouldn’t. Each side would look different from each other.
B – Border
Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and have scalloped or notched edges.
C – Colour
Multiple colours are found in melanomas, usually different shades of brown, tan or black.
As it grows, the colours red, white or blue may appear.
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D – Diameter
Lesions about 6mm or larger in diameter is a warning sign of melanoma.
E – Evolving
Any change in size, shape, colour or elevation is to be checked over by a healthcare professional.
This includes any itching, crusting, or bleeding.
Another warning sign of melanoma, pointed out by the Skin Cancer Foundation, is the “Ugly Duckling”.
The Ugly Duckling is when a stand-out mole looks starkly different from the moles on your body.
The different looking mole may possibly be melanoma. So it’s important to compare any suspicious moles to surrounding moles.
These Ugly Ducklings can be larger, smaller, lighter or darker compared to moles nearby.
Skin Cancer Foundation: “Because melanoma can be so dangerous once it advances, follow your instincts and visit your doctor if you see a spot that just doesn’t seem right.”
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