15 Key Facts about Skin Cancer
1) The risk of getting skin cancer increases steadily with age and sun exposure. It is rare under 18.
2) Nearly all skin cancers are cured by simple surgery if diagnosed early.
3) Basal cell cancers, the most common sort, often present as a scab that won’t heal. Most common on head, neck and upper trunk.
4) Squamous cell cancer usually presents as a growing lump on sun damaged skin, especially bald head, ears, back of hands, shins (in women).
5) Melanoma skin cancer is less common, but much more dangerous as it can spread internally if not caught early.
6) 8 out of 10 melanomas develop out of clear skin, the rest come from existing moles.
7) The lighter your skin and the more sun you get, the greater the risk. Redheads and blondes are at greatest risk.
8) Blistering sunburn and tanning beds are dangerous, especially for children. But ordinary, everyday sun builds up and can have an effect over your lifetime. Gardening or golf without a hat may be as risky as sunbathing in Spain!
9) A new or changing mole, or one that stands out as different from other moles should be checked.
10) Skin cancers are not usually painful or itchy. Doctors are much more worried about changes in colour, size and shape.
11) Skin cancers may grow for years before starting to bleed.
12) Normal moles are usually brown, round or oval, so (if raised) and with a smooth border. Dangerous moles are more likely to have two or more colours and irregular shape and outline.
13) If you have had one skin cancer, you are more likely to get another new one, so act accordingly.
14) Photographs of your own skin may help you notice if a mole is changing.
15) Especially beware of a new, firm, growing pink or red lump on the skin. Not all melanomas are dark in colour.