Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.  Skin cancer is also the easiest cancer to cure if diagnosed and treated early. 

When should I see my doctor?

Your dermatologist should see you once a year, more often if you have made a skin cancer.  Show your doctor anything that concerns you—the earlier the better. Ask for a full skin check. Like most cancers, the earlier you detect skin cancer the simpler the treatment. 

Who should do a self-skin examination?

Everyone should! It is particularly important for people with the following characteristics to do so.

  • History of melanoma
  • History of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma
  • Many moles or freckles
  • Actinic keratoses (scaly spots on sun-exposed sites)
  • Outdoor work or recreation
  • History of sunburns or exposure to tanning bed
  • Syndromes that increase the risk of skin cancer
  • Taking immune suppressive medications, eg organ transplant patients

When should I examine my skin?

Skin self-examination should be done monthly.

What are the warning signs of skin cancer?

A spot or sore that:

  • Itches or hurts
  • Crusts or scabs
  • Ulcerates or bleeds
  • Fails to heal within three weeks

Be concerned by a lesion that looks different from your other skin spots. This is sometimes called an ugly duckling.