Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Melanoma health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Skin cancer symptoms

Skin cancer symptoms include the appearance of new moles or changes to a mole, such as itching or bleeding.

Skin changes due to cancer often affect the back, legs, arms and face, but can affect anywhere on the skin.

Warning signs of skin cancer include:

  • Any change in size, colour, shape or texture of a mole or other skin growth
  • An open or inflamed skin wound that won't heal

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may appear as:

  • A change in an existing mole
  • A small, dark multicoloured spot with irregular borders - either raised or flat - that may bleed and form a scab
  • A cluster of shiny, firm dark bumps
  • Having a diameter larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil rubber)

An easy way to remember the signs of melanoma is the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetrical
  • Irregular Borders
  • Two or more Colours or changes in colour
  • Diameter larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil rubber)
  • Elevated or Enlarged

Basal cell carcinoma may appear on sun-exposed skin as:

  • A pearly or flesh-coloured oval bump with a rolled border, which may develop into a bleeding ulcer.
  • A smooth red spot indented in the centre.
  • A reddish, brown or bluish black patch of skin on the chest or back.

Squamous cell carcinoma may appear on sun-exposed skin as:

  • A firm, reddish wart-like bump that grows gradually.
  • A flat spot that becomes a bleeding sore that won't heal.

Seek medical advice if:

  • An existing mole changes size, shape, colour or texture; or you develop a very noticeable new mole as an adult.
  • A new skin growth or open sore does not heal or disappear in a few weeks.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 23, 2016

Healthy skin newsletter

Skin care tips and treatment options
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

mature woman
Go for the glow!
avacado on whole wheat crackers
Plenty of healthy options
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
baby eating from spoon
What to feed your baby in the first year
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
womans eye
See what eye conditions look like
toddler doodling
What to expect in your child's second year
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy