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Melanoma health centre

Skin cancer (melanoma) - What are the symptoms of melanoma?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

The two main symptoms of melanoma are changes in moles that you already have and new moles on your skin.

See your doctor as soon as you can if a mole:[4]

  • Changes shape or size

  • Changes colour

  • Feels different (rougher or scalier than before)

  • Hurts or itches

  • Oozes fluid or pus

  • Crusts over

  • Bleeds

  • Becomes red or inflamed.

If you're a woman you're most likely to get a melanoma on your legs. If you're a man you're most likely to get a melanoma on your chest or back.[14] But these are just the most common places that melanomas appear. When you check your skin you should examine your whole body.

If you are at all worried about a mole, see your doctor as soon as you can.


How to check your skin

You should check the moles on your body regularly to see if they have changed.

When you're checking your moles:[10]

  • Make sure the light in the room is good

  • Check every part of your body. Try to use a system. For example, you might check the left side of your body first and then the right. And then check your back

  • Ask a friend or relative to check your back and other parts of your body that are hard-to-see

  • Use a comb or hairdryer to check your scalp. You may need a friend to help you with this

  • Don't forget to check your buttocks and genitals

  • Use a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror if you can't find someone to help you check the hard-to-see parts of your body.


For references related to Skin cancer (melanoma) click here.
Last Updated: October 08, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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