Skin cancer: spotting the signs of melanoma

Anyone with more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma Credit: The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always.

One type of skin cancer - melanoma - usually affects moles and is the most dangerous form of the disease. People with more than 100 moles on the body are at a greater risk of melanoma.

It's important to get to know your skin so you can spot any changes which may need to get checked out by a professional.

Luckily, there's an easy way to remember what changes to look out for - it's as easy as ABC:


Asymmetric: is one side a difference shape to another?


Border: has the border become irregular or ragged?

Credit: NHS

Colour: is the colour varied across the legion?

Credit: NHS

Diameter: is is larger than 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)?

Credit: NHS

As skin cancers vary, you should tell your doctor about any changes to your skin, even if they are not similar to those mentioned here.

If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS. Remember - if in doubt, check it out!

British Association of Dermatologists website

It’s important to be aware that there are other signs of skin cancer too. These include:

  • A new growth or sore that doesn’t heal

  • A spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts

  • A mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs