Checking for signs of skin cancer

By Ellyn Peratikou

Men are more likely to show signs of a malignant melanoma, also known as skin cancer, later than women are. This, of course, can mean a worse prognosis. While it is a rare yet serious type of cancer that begins on the skin and can spread to other organs in the body, it is important to keep an eye on how you treat your skin and how certain moles might change shape, size or colour. As the incidence of malignant melanoma has increased by 400% in the last 40 years, we look at a few important things you ought to know.

5 things that might increase your risk of skin cancer:

  1. You have fair skin and burn easily in the sun
  2. Excess sun exposure – having lived or worked in the sun, particularly in hot countries
  3. A history of malignant melanoma in your family
  4. Having a lot of moles
  5. Problems with the immune system or take immune-suppressing medications

Remember – if treated early enough, malignant melanoma is curable. So, if in doubt, get yourself checked. 

Top tips on what to look out for in moles that might be becoming melanoma: 

  1. Rapidly growing or enlarging moles
  2. Moles that change shape and become irregular or asymmetrical
  3. Blurring of the borders of a mole
  4. Changing colour, particularly darkening, or more variations of colour appearing
  5. Ulceration or bleeding

For examples of both benign moles and malignant melanoma, visit 

Remember – there is no substitute for a consultant dermatologist examining your moles. If you are worried, get in touch today.


About the author 

Dr Adam Friedmann is a UK-trained consultant dermatologist and clinical director of the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic. He trained at King’s College School of Medicine, London and has worked at many of London’s teaching hospitals.

With more than a decade’s experience in the field, Dr Friedmann has conducted and published research on skin cancer at the Melanoma Institute in Sydney, Australia and has been a consultant since 2008.

Dr Friedmann consults on all general dermatology in both adults and children, and will treat conditions such as acne, eczema, allergy and psoriasis. His special interests include emergency dermatology, skin cancer, moles and blistering conditions.

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