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Skin Checks | Avery

Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

If your skin is prone to freckles and moles, it can be difficult to tell the difference between an ordinary spot and skin cancer. The first 5 letters of the alphabet can serve as a helpful guide when looking for signs of an abnormal mole:

Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Asymmetry
Regular moles are often symmetrical and round, while skin cancers can be irregular in shape.
Border
Melanoma can often have an uneven, jagged border surrounding it. The borders of non-melanoma cancers and regular moles are generally more defined.
Colour
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.
Diameter
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.
Evolving
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
Checking your skin regularly and thoroughly is essential for early detection of all types of skin cancer. Look over your whole body in a full-length mirror and use a small mirror or ask another person to check areas where you can’t see. If you find any of the signs & symptoms above, have the spots checked by your GP or a skin specialist.

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.