Skin cancer can appear on any part of the body, on anyone, regardless of skin colour or ethnicity. You may however have a higher risk of developing skin cancer if you are especially prone to freckles and moles, have a family history of skin cancer, or if you have light coloured skin, eyes, or hair.
Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Regular moles are often symmetrical and round, while skin cancers can be irregular in shape.
Melanoma can often have an uneven, jagged border surrounding it. The borders of non-melanoma cancers and regular moles are generally more defined.
Most regular moles are one single shade of brown. Malignant skin cancers can often appear blotchy in colour, with different shades of brown, black, red, pearl, or even blue.
Skin cancers tend to grow in size, while normal moles and freckles usually stay the same size. Moles larger than 6mm in diameter should be checked by a skin cancer professional.
Be aware of any new moles or changes in existing moles regarding shape, size, or colour. Other symptoms of skin cancer may include itching, bleeding, or crusting.
In addition to A.B.C.D.E., different types of skin cancer will usually present their own unique symptoms:
Symptoms of BCC
A Basal Cell Carcinoma can develop anywhere, but usually appears on areas of the body which receive frequent and intermittent sun exposure such as the head, neck, shoulders, and back. It may present as a pearly lump, or a dry, scaly area that is pale or bright pink in colour.
Symptoms of SCC
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is often found in areas of the body which receive the most sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms. It may present as a rapidly growing lump, a scaly red spot, or give the appearance of a sore that has not healed.
Symptoms of Melanoma
Melanomas can appear anywhere on the body but are most frequently found in areas which receive the most sun exposure such as such as the head, neck, shoulders, back, hands and forearms. Signs of a melanoma may be detected through the appearance of a new freckle or mole, or changes in size, shape, or colour of an existing mole.
Skin Cancer Checks
Your doctor or skin specialist will closely examine moles and growths with a dermatoscope (a special microscope for the skin), taking note of the A.B.C.D.E. characteristics. They may also feel your lymph nodes.
If any abnormalities are found during your skin check, your doctor may perform a biopsy themselves or refer you to us for a biopsy or surgery.
In addition to regular skin checks performed by yourself and your GP or skin specialist, if you have a new ‘lesion’ on the skin that is bleeding, crusting, growing, changing colour, or an existing one that is changing in any manner, see your GP or skin specialist promptly.
My Avery Journey
My Avery Journey
Dr Gary Avery
FRACS (Plast Surg) Plastic, Cosmetic, and Reconstructive Surgeon
Call 02 4002 4150
Fax 02 4002 4160
Suite1, Ground Floor
31-33 Watt Street, Newcastle 2300
PO Box 625 Newcastle 2300