Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Melanoma health centre

Skin cancer overview

Skin cancers include malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Basal and squamous cell are common and treatment is very effective. Malignant melanoma, especially in later stages, is life-threatening. Around 2,000 people die from malignant melanoma skin cancer each year in the England and Wales. Experts believe ‘binge’ tanning and increased use of sunbeds is to blame. Early diagnosis and treatment can increase the survival rate.

Select a chapter

RSS Feed | Help

Latest headlines

Restrictions applied to skin cancer drug

Ipilimumab, a skin cancer medication should not be given to patients as a first-line treatment, the NHS treatments regulator has ruled.

Read full article

Skin cancer diagnosis and treatment

How do I know if it's skin cancer?

The first signs of skin cancer are usually a noticeable change in an area of skin or the size or shape of a mole.



If you are concerned about these changes, get them checked by your GP.



The GP can then decide whether a referral to a specialist is needed for further assessment, tests and treatment.



Photos of the area may be sent to a specialist by the GP.

Biopsy

A skin cancer diagnosis is confirmed by carrying out a biopsy: removing a small patch of skin or a mole for laboratory testing to check for cancer cells.



The area of skin will be numbed with anaesthetic so the procedure is not painful.



If melanoma skin cancer is diagnosed, other tests may be arranged to assess the degree of cancer spread (metastasis). They include:

Healthy skin newsletter

Skin care tips and treatment options
Sign Up

WebMD Video: Now Playing

boots-melanoma.mov

Skin cancer signs

Melanoma is an increasing problem. See what it looks like and how to treat it.

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
womans toned abdomen
A workout for a toned tummy
79x79_less_is_more_with_exercise.jpg
Which exercises are safe?
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
Immune-boosting foods
The role of diet
79x79_not_good_for_you.jpg
18 secrets men want you to know
boy looking at broccoli
Quick tips for feeding picky eaters
hamburger and fries
A guide for beginners
salmon dinner
A diet to boost your mood & energy
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting