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Be Good To Your Skin

May is the start of Skin Cancer Awareness Month. A time to share information about the prevention, detection and risk factors of skin cancer, in order for people to protect themselves and their loved ones and reduce the frequency of this cancer to save lives.

Things that increase your chances of getting melanoma include having pale skin, blonde or red hair, a large number of freckles or moles, using sunbeds a lot and a family history of skin cancer.

There are different symptoms of skin cancer; you may first notice a change in how an area of skin looks, usually an area regularly exposed to the sun. The main symptoms of melanoma are:

  • Mole with an uneven shape or edges

  • Mole with a mix of colours

  • Large mole

  • Mole that changes over time

You should see a GP if:

  • You have a mole that's changed size, shape or colour

  • You have a mole that's painful or itchy

  • You have a mole that's inflamed, bleeding or crusty

  • You have a new or unusual mark on your skin that has not gone away after a few weeks

  • You have a dark area under a nail that has not been caused by an injury

It's often possible to prevent skin cancer by being careful in the sun, seeking shaded areas where doable and applying sunscreen regularly. Finding a melanoma as early as possible can mean it's easier to treat. How it is treated depends on where it is located on the body, if it has spread to other areas and your general health.

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, there is care and support out there in many forms from specialist teams to national cancer charities who can support both you and your loved ones affected by skin cancer.

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