Early Signs of Skin Cancer: What to look out for

By January 20, 2023News

It is important that you get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you can notice any changes. The sooner you identify and treat skin cancer, the better your chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma, or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement, or in the rare case, death.

What to look out for

The three most common types of skin cancer include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).


Melanomas are tumours of the pigment cells (melanocytes) of our skin. Risk factors for developing a melanoma include a history of previous skin cancers, blistering sunburns as a child, a family history of melanoma and numerous dysplastic moles. If treated early, patients with a melanoma have a very high survival rate.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

These tumours variably present as pink plaques or fleshy bumps that can bleed. BCCs grow slowly but deeply and can penetrate through to bone.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

These are usually pink, round, flat or slightly raised plaques with surface scaling or ulceration. Usual symptoms include a persistent, painless, or painful pink spot. SCCs can occur anywhere on the body but have a predilection for areas of sun exposure on the arms, legs, and face. If left untreated, SCCs can invade along and through nerves, lymphatics, and bone.

How to check your skin

The ABCDE melanoma detection is a useful guide when checking your skin.

A is for Asymmetry, look for spots that lack symmetry. Meaning, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.

B is for Border, which is a spot with a spreading or irregular edge.

C is for Colour, blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.

D is for Diameter, look for spots that may be getting bigger.

E is for Evolving, look for spots that are changing and growing.

Be sure to check your entire body as skin cancers can sometimes occur on parts of your body that are not exposed to the sun, for example, the soles of your feet, between fingers and toes, and underneath your nails.

At Southern Aesthetic, our plastic surgeons have special training and techniques to ensure that cancers are completely removed and that the cosmetic result is the most subtle it can be. For many patients, skin cancer treatment can be performed under local anaesthetic in our Kogarah rooms. All of our patients are also offered the option of surgery under sedation or a general anaesthetic to complete their skin cancer treatment in one of our Sydney hospitals.

For more information regarding our skin cancer treatment Sydney services, contact us on 02 9186 8105.

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