Are you aware of the signs of skin cancer?

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

More than three quarters of Britons have said that they wouldn’t recognise the signs of skin cancer, according to the BBC. But with over 15,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer between 2014-2016 why are we not more aware of the signs?

Stats from Cancer Research UK say that since the early 1990's the number of incidences of melanoma skin cancer have increased by 134%. So we're taking a look at the types of skin cancer and what changes to look out for on your body.

Type of skin cancer

There are two types of skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma:


This is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other parts of the body, such as the organs. This is commonly identified through the appearance of a new mole or a change to an existing mole.

In the majority of cases the melanoma will have an irregular shape and are more than one colour. Sometimes they are larger than normal moles and may be itchy or bleed.

The NHS has developed an ‘ABCDE’ checklist to help you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma, you can watch their visual guide to moles.   


This refers to types of skin cancer that develop slowly in the upper layers of skin. The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer usually is the appearance a lump or patch of skin that still hasn’t healed after a few weeks, this cancerous lump can be red and firm whilst cancerous patches may be flat and scaly in appearance.

Basal cell carcinoma (accounting for about 75% of skin cancers) and squamous cell carcinoma (accounting for around 20% of skin cancers) are the two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer. Find out more about the symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer

If you do notice any skin abnormalities that haven’t healed after four weeks the NHS recommends booking an appointment to see your GP in case it is something serious.  

What are the causes of skin cancer?

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the main environmental cause of most skin cancers. The UV light damages skin cells which then can cause skin cancer and with so many of us living longer, our lifetime exposure to sun is greatly increased.

>>Read how to protect yourself from the damage the sun can cause.

A lifetime of sun exposure can be significant in the development of squamous cell cancers. People who work outside, such as builders or farmers, can also be at greater risk of skin cancer, as they're exposed to the sun for longer periods of time than most. 

Macmillan also state that those who are fair-skinned who tend to go red or freckle in the sun can be most at risk to skin cancer. If you have been over exposed to the sun as a child or young adult you may also be at great risk to developing skin cancer which may not show up until later in life – usually after the age of 40.    

Cancer Cover with Health for You

With many people developing various types of cancer, the latest stats in 2016 say that over 360,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, it's easy to become concerned about your health.

As part of the various modular options within our health insurance policy Health for You we can look to cover you for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer; as our policy allows you to choose one level of cancer cover as standard. 

To find out more, visit our health insurance cover options page. 

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