Skin cancer warning signs you shouldnt ignore – as Chris Evans shares diagnosis

Radio presenter Chris Evans has been diagnosed with skin cancer – and he's not alone.

Around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year, making it one of the most common cancers in the world.

According to the NHS, it slowly develops in the upper layers of the skin and can be treated with surgery.

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Treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is typically successful as there's a considerably lower risk that the cancer will spread.

But rarer melanoma skin cancer tends to be more serious as it can spread to other areas of the body – so it's important to spot the warning signs early.

Here are the symptoms of skin cancer to look out for…

Main symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer

The NHS states: "The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years. This is the cancer, or tumour.

"In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.

"Non-melanoma skin cancer most often develops on areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back."

Main symptoms of melanoma skin cancer

  • Mole with uneven shape or edges
  • Mole with a mix of colours
  • Large moles, often more than 6mm wide
  • Mole that changes over time in size, shape and feeling – which may mean swelling, bleeding, itchiness or crustiness

According to the NHS, you should consult your GP if…

  1. You have a mole that's changed in appearance
  2. You have a mole that's painful or itchy
  3. You notice a mole has become inflamed, bleeding or crusty
  4. Pigmentation or markings on your skin change and don't heal for a few weeks
  5. There's a dark area under a nail that hasn't been caused by an injury

How to reduce the risk of moles becoming cancerous

The NHS website states: "UV light from the sun can increase the chance of a mole becoming cancerous.

"If you have lots of moles, you need to be extra careful in the sun."

It also recommends:

  • staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm, when sunlight is strongest
  • covering skin with clothes – wear a hat and sunglasses if you have moles on your face
  • regularly applying a high-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF30) and apply it again after swimming
  • avoiding sunbeds or sunlamps as they use UV light

How is skin cancer diagnosed and treated?

At your appointment, your GP is likely to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer.

They may refer you to a dermatologist or specialist plastic surgeon if they spot potential warning signs.

The specialist could then undertake a biopsy to confirm whether or not it's skin cancer.

Skin cancer typically requires surgery but can also be addressed with cryotherapy, anti-cancer creams, radiotherapy and light treatment.

According to the NHS, at least 9 out of 10 non-melanoma skin cancer cases are successfully cured.

Radio DJ Chris Evans is hoping to make a full recovery after his diagnosis.

He said: "We need to discuss what's going on with this issue. It is a melanoma.

"There's this phrase called a malignant melanoma – you know once you get something and you find out all about it – that is a redundant phrase because if it is a melanoma it is malignant.

"But it's been caught so early, just so you know, that it should be completely treatable.

"[Treatment] will happen on the 14th of September."

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