Skin Cancer

Skin cancer early diagnosis

Early detection of melanoma can save lives. Early discovery of other skin cancers allow better functional and cosmetic outcomes. Our dermatologists are experts in the early diagnosis of skin cancer.

In addition to closely monitoring any lesions you are worried about, your dermatologist will frequently recommend a full skin check (a check of the rest of your skin not covered by underwear). Small skin cancers are often asymptomatic (not bothering to you), inconspicuous to you, or in areas you can’t easily identify yourself. (You are of course free to decline a full skin check if you prefer.)

With the aid of expert clinical examination, not only can your dermatologist detect skin cancers early (when the outcomes are best), but also minimize unnecessary costs and scarring from additional treatments.

In checking for skin cancers, your dermatologist will take into consideration the history of any concerning lesions and any past history of skin cancers. The tools for early diagnosis include good lighting, close magnified examination via dermoscopy, and sometimes serial dermoscopic photographs or full body photographs. A skin biopsy may be suggested to help diagnose a lesion. This usually involves taking a small sample of a lesion, and sending for histological

examination (microscopic examination). Certain lesions (e.g. suspicious moles) are more appropriately fully removed (excised) if there is any suspicion.

With the aid of expert clinical examination, not only can your dermatologist detect skin cancers early (when the outcomes are best), but also minimize unnecessary costs and scarring from additional treatments.

Having a regular skin check with your dermatologist helps detect skin cancer early. Those who are at high risk of skin cancers (in particular those who have had skin cancers before, or who have had a lot of sun damage) benefit most from regular skin cancer surveillance.

how to complete a
Self-skin examination

Regular self-skin examination is a very important compliment to formal skin checks. Features on the skin to look out for are:

  • Non-healing sores.
  • Any spots that bleed repeatedly without obvious reasons or spots the bleed from minor trauma. This is especially concerning if this has lasted for more than a few weeks.
  • Itch related to a specific lesion. This is especially concerning if this has lasted for more than a few weeks.
  • The ‘ugly duckling’. An unusual spot that doesn’t look like other common spots you may observe on your body.

Below are additional clues to look out for melanoma

Danger signs of melanoma

Follow the ABCDE and ABCDEFG methods when checking for signs and symptoms of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: The overall half of the lesion does not match the other half.
  • Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • Colour: Non-uniform colouring. Shades of tan, brown and black are present. Dashes of red, white and blue add to a mottled appearance.
  • Diameter: Size of the mole is greater than 6mm, around the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolution: There is progression or change in size, symptoms (itching or redness), surface (especially bleeding) or colour

Nodular melanoma can be particularly aggressive. They can lack pigmentation (amelanotic), making it more difficult to diagnose. Lesions that show EFG (elevated, firm, growing) should be promptly evaluated:

  • Elevated: The lesion is raised compare to surrounding skin.
  • Firm The nodule is solid to touch.
  • Growing: The nodule is growing in size.

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