Skin cancer: ‘First signs’ of tumour as Britain battles extreme heatwave

This Morning: Jon Courtenay recalls skin cancer diagnosis

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Although the sun is a key source of vitamin D, prolonged exposure to it can cause significant harm to the human body.

As well has heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat stroke, the sun can also cause skin cancer.

Skin cancer can occur in two ways, either as melanoma or non-melanoma.

Non-melanoma is skin cancer which just appears on the skin while melanoma is skin cancer which has spread to other parts of the body.

Of the two, non-melanoma is the most common and least dangerous form of the disease; around, 147,000 cases were diagnosed in the UK last year.

What are the visual differences between melanoma and non-melanoma?

The NHS says: “The first signs of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.

“In most cases, the cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.”

Meanwhile, melanoma presents much differently to melanoma.

The most common symptom of melanoma is the development of a new mole or change in appearance of an existing mole.

Signs to look out for that a mole may be cancerous include one that is:
• Getting bigger
• Changing shape
• Changing colour
• Bleeding or becoming crusty
• Itchy or sore.

Should any of these changes occur, the NHS recommend booking an appointment with a GP to get the mole checked.

Why is this important now?

Although the UK is not known for long spells of hot weather, they have become increasingly common in recent years.

Furthermore, as temperatures have risen, so too have rates of skin cancer.

Recent research found skin cancer rates among men have risen by 219 percent since 1973.

Speaking about the data and cancer risk, chief executive of Cancer Research UK Michelle Mitchell said: “These figures showing that six people die of melanoma every day in the UK really drive home the importance of sun safety.

“We all need to take steps to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of skin cancer.”

Mitchell added: “If you notice any unusual changes to a patch of skin or nail, don’t put off telling your doctor.

“In most cases it’s not cancer, but if it is, an early diagnosis can make all the difference.”

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