Skin cancer: Eight major signs warning your blemish or mole may be cancerous

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Over the last 10 years, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma in the UK has increased by almost half. With this worrying statistic in mind, what are the main skin signs you need to be aware of warning of your risk of skin cancer? Chief Scientific Officer, Eve Casha from Dermoi spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to offer her insight including the eight main signs of skin cancer to spot.

 

Skin cancer is abnormal and unregulated growth of skin cells, said Eve.

She added: “There are two main categories of skin cancers.

“One category which is the deadliest is malignant melanoma (MM). 

“This cancer forms in the epidermal melanocytes of the skin and has the tendency to metastasize. 

“The second category is non-malignant skin cancer (NMSC). 

“This category includes basal cell carcinomas, skin cancers of the basal cells found in the bottom layer of the epidermis, as well as squamous cell carcinoma which occurs in the squamous cells of the epidermis.

“These cancers tend to be less deadly as they are more likely to localize to a specific region.”

When asked about the main causes of skin cancer, Eve answered: “There are many potential causes of skin cancer.

“Firstly, UV exposure is scientifically correlated with skin cancer. This is because exposure to UV radiation from sunlight causes DNA mutation, oxidative stress, and suppression of the immune system (the immune system plays a key role in cancer prevention). 

“Genetic predisposition as well as environmental factors such as stress, pollution, diet, smoking habits, sleep, are also implicated as contributing factors to development of skin cancers.

“Every skin tone and skin type is at risk for skin cancers (both types). 

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“Skin cancer is one of the most common malignancies in the human population and is on the rise. In Caucasian populations, skin cancer is the most common malignancy. 

“Cases of melanoma skin cancer are predicted to rise from 287,723 in 2018 to 340,271 in 2025 an increase of 18 percent.

“This is likely because of the aging population as well as the increased exposure to UV radiation either through work, or recreational activities such a sun tanning and use of sun beds.”

According to Eve, the eight symptoms warning of skin cancer include:

  • Moles that are growing in size
  • Moles that are changing shape or forming sharp irregular shapes
  • Moles that are changing in colour
  • Moles that are painful and bleeding
  • Moles that have a white, yellowish waxy layer (indication of basal cell carcinoma)
  • Moles that are crusting
  • Sores on the skin that do not heal
  • Pink, shiny growths

Bowen’s disease

“Bowen’s disease is a very early form of non-malignant skin cancer and is a precursor of squamous cell carcinoma,” added Eve.

“Bowen’s disease presents as red, scaly skin that does not heal.”

Typically, Bowen disease appears as a slow-growing, persistent reddish-brown patch or plaque of dry, scaly skin.

These lesions may be flat or slightly raised.

The lesions are normally not associated with any symptoms, but, occasionally, can itch, ooze pus, bleed or become crusted and/or tender.
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