Skin cancer symptoms: Signs of melanoma and non-melanoma – are you at risk?
Skin cancer symptoms are not always easy to identify. Many specialists even struggle to tell if a skin blemish is cancerous.
This form of cancer usually falls under two categories – melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
The most common sign of melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a more can be an indicator.
But with non-melanoma, the first sign is usually a lump or discoloured patch on the skin.
So what are the differences between melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, and are you at risk of either one?
The most common sign if the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
The NHS says this can occur anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women.
Melanomas tend to be uncommon on the buttocks and scalp – areas protected from sun exposure.
The health body adds: “In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour.
“The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed.
“Look out for a mole which changes progressively in shape, size and/or colour.”
This type of skin cancer can be identified as basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Basal cell carcinoma may look like small lumps or ulcers with a pearly appearance, often with small blood vessels around them, according to Bupa.
They may also appear as a scaly, red plaque (bumpy patch of skin) and a waxy, shiny area of skin, that looks a bit like a scar.
Squamous cell carcinoma may look like a lump with scaling or crusting skin on top, a small, red lump which quickly gets bigger, or an area of skin that doesn’t heal but is usually a bit raised.
Skin cancer can be caused by ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight and in the lights used in tanning beds.
But sun exposure doesn’t explain skin cancers that develop on skin not ordinarily exposure to sunlight. This indicates that other factors may contribute to your risk of skin cancer.
Mayo Clinic says fair skin, a history of sunburns, sunny or high-altitude climates, having lots of moles, and having a family history of skin cancer may increase your risk of skin cancer.
There is a simple test you can do at home which can help you identify if a mole is cancerous. The test is known as the ABCDE rule.