What does a cancerous mole look like?

SKIN cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer in the UK, so it's important to know the signs on your skin.

It kills seven Brits every day but catching it early increases your survival rate massively.

How will my mole change if I have cancer?

A normal mole is usually round or oval in shape, has a smooth edge and is generally no larger than 6mm in diameter.

Although helpful, size is not the only thing to go off.

Healthy moles are often larger than 6mm while melanoma (cancerous moles) are sometimes smaller.

The NHS says to look out for a mole:

  • getting bigger
  • changing shape
  • changing colour
  • bleeding or becoming crusty
  • itchy or sore

If you have a mole that shows any of these symptoms you should contact your GP as soon as possible.

What is the ABCDE checklist to use to see if I need to see a doctor?

If you are unsure whether you need to see a doctor or not you can use the ABCDE checklist to help you tell the difference between a normal one and a possible cancerous one.

  • A – asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape or colour
  • B – border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
  • C – colour – this may be uneven. Several different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
  • D – diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor
  • E – evolution – if you see progressive changes in size, shape or colour over weeks or a few months, you must seek expert help

What are the treatment options for a cancerous mole?

The most common treatment for melanoma is surgery, although your treatment will change depending on your circumstances.

Surgery is usually successful when treating melanoma if it is found and diagnosed at an early stage.

If melanoma is not found until a later, more advanced stage, treatment is used to reduce symptoms and slow the spread of the cancer.

Even if your treatment was successful once you have had melanoma there is still a chance that it may return.

If your cancer team determines there is a risk of melanoma returning, you will be invited to regular checkups to monitor your health.

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