I am a GP – the changes that may occur in your moles can indicate skin cancer

Skin cancer can be detected by a NEW mole, or even a slight change to an already existing one.

It can be hard to tell what marks to watch out for, as some are harmless.

Mole changes could be a sign of skin cancer, a GP has warned


A GP warns that skin cancer could manifest as mole changes.Credit: Getty

A GP explains what to look out for when you have melanoma – cancerous moles that are often the result of too much exposure to the sun – so that you can detect the disease as early as possible and increase your chances of survival.

Dr Dominic Greenyer is a native of The Health SuiteThe UV-induced skin cancer Melanoma can be caused by a variety of ultraviolet light.

Sunbeds and prolonged sun exposure can cause this type of cancer.

If left untreated, Melanoma may spread to other parts of the body. This can be dangerous.

You can detect melanoma symptoms early by observing changes to moles.


Melanomas can be a combination of more than one or two colours


A melanoma can have more than just one colour.Credit: nhs.uk

First, you should be on the lookout for any changes in your mole’s colour.

Dr Greenyear stated: “Normal Moles are typically the same color but can vary in hue.

“Melanomas are a mixture of two or more colors, such as brown with black, red or pink tints, or white and blue.

Amelanotic Melanoma is a term used to describe melanoma that only appears red, pink or brown in people with fair skin and red hair.

The Shape of the Body

Melanomas are often an uneven shape


Melanomas often have an irregular shapeCredit: nhs.uk

The GP suggested that if a mole changes shape you may want to discuss this with your doctor.

He added that “most melanomas tend to have an uneven or irregular shape.”

“Moles that are not normal tend to be more uneven and have both halves looking similar.

The borders of a Melanoma are irregular, uneven or jagged. This is different from the normal moles that are round and uniform.

The Size

Normal moles are usually small, whereas melanomas tend to be bigger


Melanomas tend to be larger than normal moles.Credit: nhs.uk

Health Suite recommends that you also monitor the growth of moles.

Melanomas are usually larger than moles. They can be as large as 6mm, compared to the size of an end of a pen or even smaller.

Keep an eye out for moles:

  • Sores or swollen areas
  • Inflammed
  • Bloodletting
  • Itchy
  • Crusty

According to Dr Greenyer, the best way to prevent developing an unsettling mole is by staying out of direct sunlight.

He added: “Improving your chances of preventing melanoma by taking preventative measures is the most effective way to go about it.

“If you are spending time outside this summer, stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm as this is when the sun’s radiation is at its strongest.

Sunbeds expose users to too much UV-light artificially, so avoid them.

The risk of developing melanoma increases with age.

Wear a high-factor sunscreen and a hat to shade your ears, neck, face and head.

To protect your eye, use sunglasses that are UVA and UVB-blocking.

The NHS states there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan, and great care should be taken when in the sun.

Wear appropriate clothing and spend some time in shade, especially when the sun’s intensity is highest.

Sun creams with SPFs of 30 or more are essential to protecting against UVB. The product you choose should also be rated UVA four stars and above.

UV exposure is the main preventable cause of skin cancer – the most common form of the disease in the UK.

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Each year at least 100,000 new cases of the disease are detected, with more than 2,500 deaths.

Experiencing severe sunburn, particularly in childhood, increases the risk of developing it in later life.

What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?

MELANOMA develops when melanocytes, which are skin cells, multiply.

Melanoma can be detected by a new mole, or even a mole that has changed.

Melanomas may appear anywhere, but are more likely to occur in places that you’ve been exposed to sunlight.

Rarer forms can also affect the eyes or the soles of feet. They may even spread to the palms and fingers of your hands.

It is recommended that you monitor your skin regularly for unusual changes.

It can occur in any age group, although it’s more common among older adults.

Risk factors include:

  • Sun’s ultraviolet radiation
  • Sunbed use
  • Skin type
  • Colour of the hair and eyes
  • Number of moles
  • Melanoma in the family

In the UK, around 16,700 people each year are diagnosed with Melanoma. The fifth most prevalent cancer is melanoma.

It depends where you have melanoma, how deep the cancer is and whether or not it has spread.

Almost everyone will survive their melanoma for one year or more after they are diagnosed.

Source: NHS and Cancer Research UK

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