Skin cancer: Dr Chris outlines the signs of a melanoma
According to Melanoma UK, skin cancer is the fifth most common type of tumour in the region.
Dr Dominic Greenyer, who is a GP at The Health Suite, said: “Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is caused by UV light.
“Spending prolonged periods of time in the sun, or using sunbeds regularly, can increase your chances of this cancer developing.”
Dr Greenyer added: “If left untreated, melanoma can spread to other areas of the body and can be extremely dangerous.
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“There are a few changes in moles to look out for which can allow you to detect the signs of melanoma early and seek treatment.”
One of the first signs of a potential melanoma is a mole that has grown in size, particularly if it’s grown wider.
Usually more than 6mm wide, melanomas are significantly larger than normal moles which are usually the size of the flat end of a pencil or smaller.
Also pay attention to a mole changing colour. While moles tend to range in colour, melanomas can be a mixture of colours, such as brown mixed with black, red, pink, white or a blue tint.
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For those who have red hair and fair skin, it is possible for the melanoma to only be red or pink (known as amelanotic melanoma).
Another change in a mole’s appearance to take stock of is whether it has changed shape.
Ordinary moles tend to look even – where both halves of the mole look about the same – with round borders.
Melanoma, on the other hand, tends to have an uneven or irregular shape with a jagged border.
Any changes to a mole should be reported to a doctor or dermatologist to check for skin cancer.
Dr Greenyer said: “Ultimately, taking precautionary measures to prevent melanoma is the best cause of action as you are proactively eliminating the risks.
“If you are spending time outside this summer, stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm as this is when the sun’s radiation is at its strongest.”
Dr Greenyer advised: “If you do have to be in the sun, wear a sunscreen that is factor 15 or higher and a hat which shades your face, head, ears and neck. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.”
The doctor also cautioned against the use of sunbeds, which “provide excessive exposure to artificial UV light”.
Dr Greenyer stated: “The risk of melanoma is particularly high with people who start using sunbeds at a young age.”
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