Cancer Symptoms: Three ‘Common Skin Cancer Sites’ to Watch Out For

Getting a tan isn’t the only visible sign of skin damage, over time enough DNA changes caused by sun exposure could lead to tumor development. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk on skin cancer, Dr Hélène du P Menagé. “While most of us want to spend time outdoors on a hot, sunny day, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be very harmful to the skin,” Dr. Menagé said. Pay particular attention to the “common sites of skin cancers”, such as the nose, neck and ears.

Cancer Research UK has identified two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma skin cancer.

Non-melanoma skin cancer

Including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell skin cancer (SCC), non-melanomas tend to develop on skin exposed to UV rays.

Typical signs of skin cancer include a sore or area of ​​skin that does not heal in four weeks, looks unusual, hurts, bleeds, crusts or scabs for more than four weeks.

What the wound might look like

It may appear transparent, shiny, pink, pearly white or red; the lesion may be painful, rough and have raised edges.

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Also be on the lookout for an ulcer that does not heal within four weeks.

Skin cancer can also be a small, slow-growing, shiny, pink or red lump.

The NHS said: “The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a discolored lump or patch on the skin.

“[It then] persists after a few weeks and progresses slowly over months or sometimes years.”

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melanoma skin cancer

Unlike non-melanoma skin cancer, the first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.

“Normal moles are usually round or oval, with a smooth edge and usually no larger than 6mm in diameter,” the NHS said.

“But the size is not a sure sign of melanoma. A healthy mole can be more than 6mm in diameter, and a cancerous mole can be smaller than that.”

Do the ABCDE checklist to help tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma.

  • Asymmetric – melanomas usually have two very different halves and are irregularly shaped
  • Border – melanomas usually have a notched or irregular border
  • Colors – melanomas will usually be a mixture of two or more colors
  • Diameter – most melanomas are usually over 6mm in diameter
  • Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be melanoma.

Another tip is to “wear protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat that protects your nose, neck, and ears.”

Dr Menagé added that people should ‘wear a shirt with sleeves to keep your shoulders out of the sun’.

In addition to protective clothing and shade seeking, Dr. Menagé is a strong advocate for liberal application of sunscreen.

“Products with a high SPF of 30 or more generally have good UV-A protection,” she said.

“You should apply it twenty minutes before you go outside and make sure to reapply every two hours, especially if you’ve been in the water or sweated.”

Dr Hélène du P Menagé is a consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UK.