The signs of Melanoma Skin Cancer

SKIN CANCER IS ON THE RISE IN MILLENNIALS & GENERATION X

Those aged between 25 to 49 years old might forgive us for talking about them in their generational terms, however, this specific age group is at the highest risk of developing melanoma skin cancer. Over the past 20 years, those who grew up in these generations, and are now aged between 25-49 years old, are the key age suffering from the 71% increase in skin cancer since the early 90s. According to the Independent, this alarming figure has forced dermatologists to resort to requesting a ban of tanning salons, with the suggestion that at least 91% of skin cancer conditions treated by dermatologists are caused by excessive use of tanning salons in the UK.

Dr Adam Friedmann, from The Dermatology Partnership of which Everything Skin Clinic is part of, also noted that the majority of those under 30 who he treats for melanoma have used sunbeds at some point in the past. Interestingly, Statista found that while the use of sun protection was on the rise between 2016-2019, so too was the use of self-tanning solutions. In 2019, a study by The Hospital Group found that as much as 67% of people do not use sun protection regularly. The study also found that 57% of participants weren’t aware they were not using enough sun protection, while 20% also would risk sunburn to get a tan or ‘base tan’.

This raises alarm bells for dermatologists who are having to further educate their patients on the high risks they are taking and the potential life-threatening harm they are putting themselves under while not actively protecting themselves from harmful UV rays.

SKIN DAMAGE CAUSED BY UV RAYS

Whether it’s tanning salons or summer holidays, it’s extremely important that you protect your skin from UV rays. This is very pertinent to men, who tend to spend less time protecting and taking care of their skin than women. UV rays don’t just damage your skin by causing skin cancers, they can also damage the skin in the below ways which can be avoided through simple UV protection.

Sunburned skin

The first is the most obvious, the sunburned skin which can lead to first to second-degree burns that cause blistering deeper into the skin tissue. This can cause melanoma later in life, but also short-term rashes and blistering that are extremely painful.

Melasma skin condition

Melasma is an abnormal patch of skin that differs in colour from your natural skin pigment. This typically occurs on the face and is often a symmetrical patch. It is not only caused by sun damage, it can also be influenced by hormones and is commonly seen in women during pregnancy.

Freckles

Excessive exposure to the skin causes freckles. Freckles have recently been seen as an aesthetically pleasing trait to showcase by beauty bloggers on social media, however freckles are a result of skin damage from excessive sun exposure and a sign to protect your skin more frequently.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis are scaly red or brown patches on the skin caused by sunlight exposure. These can develop into skin cancer, so should be managed quickly using a topical cream and light therapy.

Bowen’s Disease

A surface-level skin cancer that can be removed through surgical excision by a dermatologist.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the least common but the most serious of skin cancers. Melanoma can be fatal, but can be cured if caught early enough. Warning signs should be taken seriously and visiting a dermatologist if you are concerned about your moles is strongly advised.

Dry Skin

Excessive UV exposure can dry your skin, causing the outer layers of your skin die and shed, exposing new and not more vulnerable skin layers to the UV rays.

SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE MELANOMA SKIN CANCER

To help you to understand and detect potentially harmful moles or melanoma, Dermatologists devised the ABCDE mole checking chart. Before having your moles checked by a dermatologist you will need to check for the following warning signs. However, these are not the exclusive signs of melanoma, but more of an indicator to seek a professional mole check and peace of mind.

The Mole Asymmetry

Moles tend to be symmetrical. If you have a mole that is asymmetrical, and unnatural in shape compared to other moles, then this could be a sign to get the mole checked.

The Mole Border

Moles tend to be round in their edges. Moles that have a jagged border could be showing warning signs – especially if there is a standout mole showing this feature.

The Mole Colour

Should a mole be significantly darker than your other moles or is turning blue or black, this is a warning sign to get your moles checked immediately by a dermatologist.

The Mole Diameter

The typical size of a mole seen by dermatologists is a quarter of an inch. Naturally, this differs per patient and some will have larger moles, however, if your moles are around a quarter of an inch in diameter and one is larger, this could be a sign the mole is malignant.

The Mole Evolution

How a mole evolves should be monitored. Dermatologists use mole mapping especially for this, to help monitor if moles shift their size, colour or shape. You can also do this by taking pictures of moles regularly, but be sure to take the pictures in the same light, at the same angles to be able to see if your moles have changed.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL MOLE CHECKS FOR MELANOMA

Check your moles regularly yourself but if you see any moles evolving or new moles appearing, then you will need to visit a dermatologist for safety and precautions. Self mole checking should be undertaken regularly – at least monthly to help you notice abnormalities in your moles, should they arise.

If you’re concerned about your moles right now then please visit our mole checking services page and book a consultation online or contact us to talk to one of our experts today. For more information on your skin, moles and melanoma, visit our dermatology insights.

WHY CHOOSE EVERYTHING SKIN CLINIC?

At Everything Skin Clinic™, we have a team of highly trained Consultant dermatologists, who have completed specialist training in Dermatology and are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council. All our consultants hold substantive contracts with the best Dermatology centres in leading NHS hospitals. Therefore, you can be certain of the highest quality private care.

We offer a range of treatments and can offer one, or a combination of treatments to achieve the best results. Unlike many other clinics, we can offer diagnosis and treatment all under one roof by expert consultant dermatologist, so you know you’ll be in safe hands.

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