One of the distinctive marks of skin cancer is when an existing or new mole changes its appearance over a few weeks or months. Here’s what to look out for. As confirmed by the NHS, melanomas (i.e. skin cancer) “usually have two very different halves and are an irregular shape”. An asymmetrical mole is one of the warning signs that it could be a cancerous lesion.
If you’re concerned about a mole on your body, do get in contact with your doctor.
You may be asked to send across a digital photograph of the concerning patch of skin, which can then be sent on to a specialist.
It’ll help to document any changes to your moles, which can help a specialist make a diagnosis.
It’s usually a quick turnaround from seeing your GP and a specialist if skin cancer is suspected – expect to be seen within two to three weeks.
When seeing a specialist, they might need to take a biopsy to check if it’s cancerous.
This minor procedure is done under local anaesthetic so that the area is numb, meaning it will be painless.
If skin cancer is confirmed, you’ll usually need another operation to remove a wider area of skin.
This is so all cancerous cells are removed from the body; further medical monitoring may take place for up to five years.
The specialist will check for further signs of skin cancer and do tests to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, for example.
Up to 90 percent of patients are discharged with no further problems.
As with any type of cancer, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
Treating cancer in the earliest stages produces the best chances for a full recovery.