Is your mole itchy or sore? Do the ABCDE checklist to detect first signs of skin cancer

There are two main categories of skin cancer - non-melanoma and melanoma. 

The two most common non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. 

More than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, according to reports. 

While melanoma skin cancer is rarer, it needs to be treated as early as possible as it can grow quickly. 

Here’s how to detect the first signs of this type of skin cancer. 

Melanoma symptoms 

The first sign of a melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole, according to the NHS. 

A normal mole is usually round or oval, with a smooth edge, and no bigger than 6mm in diameter. 

But it could be time to visit your GP if you notice the following changes in your mole: 

  • Getting bigger 
  • Changing shape 
  • Changing colour 
  • Bleeding becoming crusty 
  • Itchy or sore 

The NHS suggests a ABCDE checklist to help you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma: 

Asymmetrical - melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape 

Border - melanomas have a notched or ragged border 

Colours - melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours 

Diameter - melanomas are larger than 6mm in diameter 

Enlargement or elevation - a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma

It adds: “Melanomas can appear anywhere on your body, but they most commonly appear on the back in men and not he legs in women. 

“They can also develop underneath a nail, on the sole of the foot, in the mouth, to in the genital areas, but these types of melanoma are rare.” 

Surgery is the main treatment for melanoma, but it is important to see your GP as soon as possible if you notice changes in a mole, freckle or patch of skin, particularly if the changes happen over a few weeks or months. 

Tongue cancer and other oral cancers are also considered relatively rare. 

It may be the sixth most common cancer in the world - much less common in the UK - but its symptoms should not be overlooked. 

A sore throat or tongue ulcer are common and can usually be managed at home. 

But a sore throat that just won’t budge or an ulcer or lump on the tongue which won’t seem to go away can be signs of tongue cancer.