Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that usually begins with a new mole appearing or with changes in a mole you already have.
The mole may change in colour, become raised or grow larger and appear irregular.
If diagnosed and treated early, melanoma is curable. Left untreated it can spread to other areas of your body making treatment difficult.
It’s a good idea to check your moles regularly. Using a simple ABCDE checklist you can look for signs of irregularity*:
A Asymmetry – If you drew a line through the middle of a mole would both halves match?
B Border – Does the mole have a distinct border (melanomas have jagged borders).
C Colour – Is the mole one colour?
D Diameter – Is the mole wider than 6mm across?
E Evolving – Is the mole changing in size, shape or colour?
A major cause of melanoma is sun exposure. Follow the rules for avoiding sun damaged skin including avoiding the use of sunbeds or sunlamps.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice any changes to existing moles or abnormal looking new moles.