Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, so it’s really important to protect yourself from the sun. Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s time to have a good look at your moles to prevent or catch cancer early on. Express.co.uk chatted to the Lead Screening Nurse at The MOLE Clinic, Laura Harker RN to find out why you need to check your moles NOW and the five things to look out for.
Why YOU need to check your moles now
Most skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA in our skin cells.
With the main source of UV light coming from sunlight, it’s important that we pay attention to our skin after spending time outside.
The first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of one, so that’s why we should all be checking our moles on a regular basis.
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The Lead Screening Nurse at the MOLE Clinic, Laura Harker, explained: “Our skin changing colour in the sunshine is due to the cells in our body changing to try and protect us from harmful UV rays from the sun.
“So even if you’re not suffering from sunburn, your skin is still showing signs of damage.
“Even if you have darker skin, you should also be aware though your skin might not look affected, damage can still be taking place.”
The five things to look out for
Melanoma can appear initially as an unusual, new or changing mole and therefore we advise individuals to follow the ‘ABCDE’ rule.
Check for these five things, and if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions you should see your GP or a skin specialist:
A – Asymmetry
Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half of the mole is unlike the other.
B – Border
Does the mole have an irregular border? Is it scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?
C – Colour and Comparison
Does the mole have more than one colour and does the mole look different to your other moles?
D – Diameter
Check the diameter of the mole to see if it is bigger than 7mm (about the size of the end of a pencil).
However, most skin cancers start off smaller than this and it is important to check for any lesion that is new, changing or unusual, regardless of size.
E – Evolving
Is the mole evolving or changing size shape or colour?