Skin Cancer Symptoms and Signs to look out for
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Britain, causing around 2,100 deaths each year.
However, many people are still unaware of the dangers of skin cancer, its links to sunburn, and how to spot the signs of this deadly disease.
A recent study by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) found that 77% of people would not recognize signs of a melanoma, despite the majority of Britons worrying about skin cancer.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with around 13,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.
Non-melanoma is the other type of skin cancer, with over 100,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
The risk of melanoma is doubled if a person has had five or more sunburns at any age, and experiencing just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing a melanoma later in life.
Non-melanoma comes in two most common forms: basal cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 75% of skin cancers, and squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 20%.
Both are mainly caused by overexposure to UV light.
Despite the serious risks of cancer posed from sunburn, nearly three quarters of people surveyed by BAD admitted to having been burned in the past year alone, while 40% of people were found to never check themselves for signs of cancer.
To check for possible signs of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, the NHS recommends looking for changes in moles, such as size, shape, color, bleeding, crustiness, or itchiness.
The NHS has an ABCDE checklist to help people tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma.
Non-melanoma usually appears as a lump or discolored patch of skin that does not heal.
If a person experiences one of these patches that do not heal after four weeks, they should see their GP.
Signs of basal cell carcinoma can look like a small red or pink lump, a pearly-white or waxy-looking lump, or a red or scaly patch of skin.
The lump will grow slowly and can become crusty or bleed, or become a painless ulcer.
Signs of squamous cell carcinoma are the appearance of a firm pink lump, which could have a flat, scaly or crusted surface, often bleeds easily, feels tender to touch, and can also become a painless ulcer.
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