Skin cancer and Melanomas occurs when the genetic material inside the cells changes, causing an alteration in how cells behave. They can increase in size and number, leading to the development of a tumour. 

There are two main types of skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and accounts for almost three per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers each year. 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which can spread to other areas of the body. It’s important to get checked for skin cancer to prevent the spread to other organs. The most common form of melanoma is found in the appearance of a new mole, or an existing mole changing shape, form or colour. They can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the face, legs, arms and back area. 

Melanomas often start in moles, but they can also develop elsewhere on the skin. In rare cases, melanomas can occur in the eye, under the fingernails or in other parts of the body not usually exposed to the sun. 

 

There are over 8,000 new cases of melanoma in men, and nearly 7,000 new cases in women per year in the UK. Melanoma (also known as malignant melanoma) is cancer that develops from cells called melanocytes, found in the outer layer of our skin. Melanocytes produce melanin, a pigment that helps to protect the deeper layers of our skin from the harmful effects of the sun. This pigment appears as a suntan, which is a sign of damaged skin and a possible skin cancer warning sign. 

At the Cadogan Clinic, we offer an advanced mole check treatment run by a team of highly skilled consultant dermatologists, who specialise in mole checks and the treatment of skin cancer. 

In the event a mole does need to be removed, the procedure can be performed quickly and painlessly, using the most effective and efficient mole removal techniques available.

Our expert team also offers specialist Mohs surgery – the most advanced technique for removing certain skin cancers. 

Dermatology Gallery 

Skin Lumps and Warts

Benign Dermatofibroma - Persisting asymptomatic nodule. Recommend excision on cosmetic grounds as will never go away spontaneously.

Benign vascular nodule - Developed at site of minimal trauma; needs surgical removal as bleeds easily.

Benign vascular nodule - On face of elderly lady, for surgical removal.

Warty benign basal cell papilloma (seborrhoeic keratosis) - Slowly growing on trunk of 70 year old man; removed by curettage.

Warty benign basal cell papilloma (seborrhoeic keratosis) - Flesh-coloured growth on trunk of 75 year old man

Seborrhoeic warts / keratoses - On a patient

Seborrhoeic warts / keratoses - On a patient

Solar keratoses - Extensive scalp solar keratoses suitable for PDT

Rapidly growing nodule - Below left eye in 70 year old man. Needs excision for cure and for histology to differentiate between a keratoacanthoma and a basal cell cancer

Hand warts - Can be treated with Cryotherapy

Plantar warts - Potentially suitable for cryotherapy

Melanomas

Lentigo maligna - Black discolouration on background brown lentigo on nasal bridge–needs excision to prevent spread.

Melanoma - Melanoma on a patient

Lentigo maligant melanoma - Slowly growing brown stain on cheek of elderly lady

Malignant melanoma - Well demarcated black plaque on sun damaged trunk of 35 year old

Malignant melanoma - Well demarcated black plaque on sun damaged skin

Melanoma - Change in the pigmentation of a previously brown mole

Nodular melanoma - A large pigmented nodule

A nodular melanoma - Enlarging pigmented plaque

Subungual melanoma - Persisting black toenail originally thought due to trauma

A nodular melanoma - Persisting oozing nodule with pigmentation

Amelanotic melanoma - Vascular nodule on the foot

Large malignant melanoma - On upper back of very sundamaged skin

Other Skin Cancers

Basal cell cancer - Slowly growing nodule on sun exposed skin of 68 year old man showing telangiectasia (blood vessels) diagnostic of a basal cell cancer

Multiple cancers - Multiple scaly patches consistent with multiple cancers on sun-exposed neck of elderly woman

Basal cell cancer - Scaly area which never heals on right side of forehead of 72 year old. Need excising to prevent further enlargement.

Basal cell cancer - Slowly growing area on sun damaged facial skin of 35 year old surfer. Basal cell cancer needing Mohs and reconstruction to prevent further growth.

Pigmented basal cell cancer - On sun exposed skin of 72 year old. Could be mistaken for a melanoma due to the black pigment.

Squamous Cell Cancer - Sore ear thought to be infection in 78 year old man but due to a squamous cell cancer

Bowen’s disease on the hand - An early skin cancer

Psoriasis

Psoriasis - Symmetrical well defined erythematous plaques on the knees

Psoriasis - Well demarcated scaly plaques on elbows of a 4 year old

Psoriasis - Scaly itchy scalp with well demarcated edge due to psoriasis

Psoriasis - Well demarcated scaly rash of psoriasis in a child on an unusual location

Small Plaque Psoriasis - Widespread rash with well demarcated pink scaly patches

Psoriasis - Psoriasis on the forehead and scalp

Moles

Large congenital mole - Atypical pigmentation in a child - needs monitoring

Protruding benign mole - Excise on cosmetic grounds

Hair bearing benign flesh coloured facial naevus -

Halo naevus - This is benign and occurs more frequently in patients with vitiligo

Large naevi with irregular pigmentation - Dysplastic naevi which need monitoring /excision to prevent progression

Unusual mole on sole of foot - For dermoscopic monitoring

Halo - Less intense pigmentation surrounding a normal mole

Benign Mole - Benign mole on a patient

Benign Mole - Benign mole on a patient

Acne

Acne Scarring - Acne Scarring

Acne - Acne on a male patient

Acne - Acne on the forehead, can be treated with Roaccutane.

Acne - Acne on the cheek, can be treated with Roaccutane.

Autoimmune

Alopecia - Alopeca areata

Allergies

Urticaria - Urticaria or hives

Pigmentation

Actinic Lentgines - On the patient's hand

Sun Damage - On the patient's chest

Actinic Lentgines - On the patient's hand

Extensive Actinic Lentigines - Forehead with extensive actinic lentigines sun freckling

Vitiligo - On a patient

Vascular

Vascular Papule - Vascular papule on patients face

Superficial Leg Vessels - Close up of superficial leg vessels amenable to sclerotherapy or laser.

Eczema

Dry Eczematous Skin - Dry eczematous skin on a patient

Flexural Eczema - Flexural eczema on a patients arm

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many ways that you can reduce your risk of skin cancer.

+ Limit your exposure to UV radiation
+ Use broad-spectrum sunblock when exposed to the sun. Broad spectrum will help protect against both UVA and UVB rays
+ Use a minimum of SPF 30 in your sunblock, ensure the UVA protection is adequate as denoted by UVA and apply thickly and frequently
+ Avoid the use of sunbeds (Using sunbeds for the first time below the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma by nearly 60%
+ Perform a monthly skin self-examination looking for ABCDE of moles

 ABCDE Checklist for suspicious features:

+ Asymmetry: Moles that are an irregular shape and have two different halves.
+ Border: Moles with a ragged border.
+ Colours: Moles that have a mix of two or more colours.
+ Diameter: Moles that are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) diameter.
+ Evolution: A mole which has changed in size or shape over time.

When performing your monthly skin checks ensure you are doing it after a bath or shower, in a well-lit room, with the aid of a full-length mirror looking for any changes in moles thoroughly.

You can also self-assess yourself for risk of melanoma. The Melanoma Risk Factor Assessment checklist can tell you if you would benefit from a mole check by a dermatologist, or from more regular self-examinations.

The Melanoma Risk Factor Assessment:

+ Have you ever been sunburnt badly?
+ Does your skin burn first and then tan? Do you tan at all?
+ Do you have any outdoor hobbies?
+ Have you ever used sunbeds?
+ Have you ever lived anywhere abroad that was very hot/sunny?
+ Have you ever had a job where you worked outdoors?
+ Has anyone in your family ever had melanoma?
+ Do you wear sunblock when exposed to the sun?

If you notice any changes to a mole or a patch of skin, it is important to seek the advice of your GP or a dermatologist as soon as possible. If your regular GP has any concerns about the changes in your moles, they will refer you to a consultant dermatologist for further examination.

A dermatologist will perform a full skin examination to check all of your moles. If the dermatologist has any concerns about any unusual moles or patches of skin, they will either go on to remove (excise) the mole or take a sample of a suspicious patch of skin (biopsy) to send in for analysis.

It is important to note that not all changes to moles are the results of skin cancer. It is normal for moles to change in size, number or appearance over time, even some disappearing entirely. Hormonal changes, like those that occur with puberty or pregnancy, can also cause moles to increase in number or to become darker. 

Melanoma is caused when skin cells, or melanocytes, begin to grow abnormally. The single most preventable cause is too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight and there is also evidence that the use of sunbeds can cause skin cancer.

There are certain people who have a predisposition to skin cancer or are more at risk:

+ People who burn easily in the sun

+ People with past episodes of sunburn, often with blister formation and often in childhood

+ People with many moles (more than 50)

+ People who have first-degree family members who have melanomas

+ People with a weakened immune system due to diseases (e.g. HIV), or those on drugs that suppress the immune system (e.g. organ transplant patients)

 

Melanomas may develop as either a new mole or occur as changes in a pre-existing mole. It is the fifth most common form of skin cancer in the UK, with approximately 13,000 cases being reported each year.

More than a quarter of those cases are in people under 50 years old, which is quite young in comparison to other cancers. More than 2000 people in the UK die every year from melanoma.

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin. It is a very serious skin cancer that has the ability to metastasise or spread to other organs of the body. It can develop anywhere on the body, yet the most common places are on areas of the body that have been overly exposed to the sun.

Melanoma is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK and rates of melanoma have been increasing steadily since the mid-1970s, more than any of the ten other most common cancers in both men and women. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

There are several types of melanomas, including:

+ Superficial Spreading Melanomas – these account for around 70% of all reported cases of melanoma in the UK. They are moles that spread radially and often have an irregular edge. In the radial growth phase, they usually remain confined to the skin and have not spread, but if they begin to grow deeper they can then metastasise to other parts of the body. If you have a mole with an irregular edge, get it examined by a doctor.

+ Lentigo Maligna Melanomas – these account for around 10% of all reported cases of melanoma in the UK. They often begin looking like a freckle on the face of the elderly and enlarge slowly. If they start to grow downwards and become nodular or change shape or pigmentation it is likely that melanoma has developed.

+ Acral Lentiginous Melanoma – these are a rare type of melanoma, accounting for only 5% of all reported cases. They occur on the palms of hands, the soles of feet or around a finger/toenail.

+ Amelanotic Melanoma – these are another rare type of melanoma, accounting for only 5% of all reported cases in the UK. They may have little or no colour or may be pink or greyish spots on the skin.

Computerized mole mapping is a tool to record moles and detect new moles. This is done in combination with Dermoscopy.

It is used to monitor changes in existing moles, detect any progression and pick up skin cancers, especially malignant melanomas, early.

It is important to note that 52% of malignant melanomas are identified through early changes.

The more moles you have, the harder it is to perform accurate self-examinations. This leads to a higher likelihood that one or more moles will change without you noticing.

This type of mole mapping is objective, therefore vital in the prevention of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is on the rise. It is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world. There are two categories, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma.

The term ‘non-melanoma’ refers to basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancer.  In the UK alone there are more than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year.

+ Basal Cell Cancer (BCC) – a BCC starts in the basal layer, the lowest layer of the epidermis and is the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for 75% of all cases.

- BCC usually appears as a small, pinkish or pearly white lump with tiny surface blood vessels

- It also can appear as a red, dry/scaly patch of skin

- There may be brown or black spots/pigmentation within the patch

- The lump grows slowly, becoming bigger and may begin to crust over and bleed

- It can also develop into a non-healing ulcer

 

+ Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC) – SCC starts in the upper layers of the epidermis and is the second most common form, accounting for 25% of all cases.

- SCC usually appears as a firm pink lump with a crusted surface

- There may be a spiky horn protruding from the top

- There may be surface scale and rough patches on the lump

- It will be tender to the touch, bleeding easily

- It may develop into an ulcer

 

Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, with less than 7000 cases diagnosed each year, but it is the deadliest. It can develop anywhere on the body but most commonly on areas of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK.

 

There are several types of melanomas, including:

+ Superficial Spreading Melanomas – these account for around 70% of all reported cases of melanoma in the UK. They are moles that spread radially and often have an irregular edge. In the radial growth phase, they usually remain confined to the skin and have not spread, but if they begin to grow deeper they can then metastasise to other parts of the body. If you have a mole with an irregular edge, get it examined by a doctor.

+ Lentigo Maligna Melanomas – these account for around 10% of all reported cases of melanoma in the UK. They often begin looking like a freckle on the face of the elderly and enlarge slowly. If they start to grow downwards and become nodular or change shape or pigmentation it is likely that melanoma has developed.

+ Acral Lentiginous Melanoma – these are a rare type of melanoma, accounting for only 5% of all reported cases. They occur on the palms of hands, the soles of feet or around a finger/toenail.

+ Amelanotic Melanoma – these are another rare type of melanoma, accounting for only 5% of all reported cases in the UK. They may have little or no colour or may be pink or greyish spots on the skin.

Finding skin cancer early saves lives because we are able to stop the metastasis, or spreading, of cancer to other organs or parts of the body. Skin cancer that is detected early is almost always curable.

If caught late, there is a higher chance that it has already spread through the body and affecting other organs. Thin melanomas, less than 1mm, have a 95% 5-year survival rate whereas thick melanomas, more than 4mm, have a 15-20% 5-year survival rate. Recent advances in treatment with immunotherapy have however improved these survival rates.

Performing a self-examination is key to detecting change. You can easily check yourself regularly for new growths or irregular moles - follow the ABCDE mole mapping guide.

ABCDE Mole Checklist

+ Asymmetry: moles that are an irregular shape and have two different halves.
+ Border: moles with a ragged border.
+ Colours: moles that have a mix of two or more colours.
+ Diameter: moles that are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) diameter.
+ Evolution: A mole which has changed in size or shape over time.

If you notice anything irregular when performing a self-examination, it is crucial that you have a follow-up check by your doctor.

 

 

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