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An NHS doctor is warning Brits to check for signs of cancer, with cases in one type soaring.
Dr Dan Mullarkey, the Medical Director of Skin Analytics, warned the rates of skin cancer have been increasing and are predicted to continue rising.
“The good news is that they can be caught early if you know what to look for,” said Dr Mullarkey.
The first step in recognising skin cancer is to become familiar with what your skin looks like right now.
“Try and get familiar with where you have moles or other marks on your body,” advised Dr Mullarkey.
“That way you’ll be more aware of any changes or new growths which may warrant further assessment.”
READ MORE… Other forms of skin cancer ‘killing more people than melanoma’ – signs to spot
For those hard-to-see areas, such as your back, Dr Mullarkey recommends using a mirror or asking a close friend or partner to help you take pictures.
It’s also vital that everybody is well acquainted with the ABCDE checklist for skin cancer.
Review moles and dark spots on your skin using the ABCDE method:
- Asymmetry: Check if both halves of the mole mirror each other.
- Border: Look for undefined or jagged edges.
- Colour: A consistent colour is preferable; varying hues can be concerning.
- Diameter: Has it grown? Moles larger than 7mm warrant attention.
- Expert: When uncertain, always seek a professional opinion.
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“You may find it helpful to take a series of photos of your moles over time,” said Dr Mullarkey.
“Consider placing a tape measure or ruler alongside the lesion to help demonstrate any change in size over time.”
Non-melanoma skin cancers can differ in appearance, said Dr Mullarkey, so be on the lookout for firm, red lumps or discoloured, scaly patches.
“These may be tender or can feel itchy or burn,” added Dr Mullarkey. “They may ulcerate or present as a sore that doesn’t heal.”
If you’re not sure if the lesions could be cancerous, the first step is to share your concerns with your doctor or a dermatologist.
People also need to be aware of the difference between seborrhoeic warts and skin cancer.
Dr Mullarkey clarified: “These benign growths, which can range in colour from pink to dark brown, might look worrying but have distinct characteristics.”
Warts have a “stuck-on” appearance and a rough texture, said Dr Mullarkey, which differentiates them from skin cancer lesions.
“While these warts are generally harmless, any sudden or unfamiliar skin changes warrant a consultation with a GP,” advised Dr Mullarkey.
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