How to spot a skin cancer
Below we talk about how to spot a skin cancer and how to check your skin.
Learn more about:
Skin cancers don’t all look the same, but there are signs to look out for, including:
- a spot that looks and feels different from other spots on your skin
- a spot that has changed size, shape, colour or texture
- a sore that doesn’t heal within a few weeks
- a sore that is itchy or bleeds.
There is no set guideline on how often to check for skin cancer, but checking your skin regularly will help you notice any new or changing spots. If you have previously had a skin cancer or are at greater risk of developing skin cancer, ask your doctor how often you should check your skin.
In a room with good light, undress completely and use a full-length mirror to check your whole body. To check areas that are difficult to see, use a handheld mirror or ask someone to help you.
|If you notice any changes to your skin, make an appointment with your general practitioner (GP) or dermatologist straightaway. You will have a better outcome if the skin cancer is found and treated early. For more information on checking your skin, visit Sunsmart and Checking for skin cancer.|
Prof Diona Damian, Dermatologist, The University of Sydney at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Associate, Melanoma Institute of Australia, NSW; Dr Annie Ho, Radiation Oncologist, Genesis Care, Macquarie University, St Vincent’s and Mater Hospitals, NSW; Rebecca Johnson, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Melanoma Institute of Australia, NSW; Shannon Jones, SunSmart Health Professionals Coordinator, Cancer Council Victoria; Liz King, Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Cancer Council NSW; Roslyn McCulloch, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Paige Preston, Policy Advisor, Cancer Prevention, Health and Wellbeing, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Michael Wagels, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment