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What does skin cancer look like? Key signs and symptoms to look out for

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In the UK, there are an average of 46 new melanoma skin cancer cases diagnosed every day, according to Cancer Research. Despite how common this potentially deadly condition is, many people do not know exactly what to look for.

This is because skin cancer can result in a variety of changes, of which many do not look the same.

People are advised to check up on their skin for any noticeable changes around once a month, as well as take into account any hidden areas.

According to skin specialist Dr Kumkum Misra M.D from Monteceuticals, this includes hidden areas such as between your toes and fingers, on the palms of your hands and on the scalp.

She said: “Hidden Melanomas can develop in areas of your that aren’t exposed to the sun, so it’s essential to monitor all parts of your skin for any changes or concerning symptoms, even areas you may never usually consider.”

Early diagnosis is essential in aiding treatment for skin cancer, so Dr Misra advises visiting a medical professional if you notice any changes.

What skin changes can indicate skin cancer?

According to, the “ABCDE rule” can help to identify some common signs of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.


If one part of a mole or birthmark begins to change or does not match the other areas.


The edges of a mole or skin mark become irregular, ragged, noticed or blurred.

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Cancerous skin changes can vary in colour, but according to, a key indicator can be that the colour is not the same all over.

Common colours include brown or black, occasionally with patches of pink, red white or even blue.


Melanomas can vary in size, but any new growth or spot which exceeds a quarter-inch across should be looked at.


If you notice any changes to the colour, size or shape of a mole or spot, you should seek medical attention.

Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are more common than melanomas but are also often more treatable.

These usually grow on parts of the body that get the most sun, such as the face, head, and neck. However, they can show up anywhere.

Key changes to look for include:

  • Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to a scar
  • Raised reddish patches that might be itchy
  • Small translucent, shiny, pearly bumps that are pink or red and which might have blue, brown, or black areas
  • Rough or scaly red patches which might crust or bleed
  • Raised bumps or lumps, sometimes with a lower enter
  • Open sores which don’t heal or are recurring
  • Wart-like growths

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