The 5 earliest signs of skin cancer to look out for as Chris Evans reveals he's been diagnosed with malignant melanoma | The Sun

VIRGIN Radio host Chris Evans has revealed he has been diagnosed with skin cancer, but it has been spotted early.

Knowing the early symptoms of skin cancer to look out for could make a huge different to the trajectory of someone’s disease.

The broadcaster, 57, said: "It's been caught so early, just so you know, that it should be completely treatable."

There are various forms of skin cancer that generally fall under non-melanoma and melanoma.

Non-melanoma skin cancers, diagnosed a combined 147,000 times a year in the UK, kill around 720 people a year.

Melanoma, meanwhile, is diagnosed 16,000 times a year, but is the most serious type that has a tendency to spread around the body.

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The deadly cancer takes the lives of 2,340 people annually.

Chris, a dad-of-five, suggested he had melanoma.

He said this morning: "We need to discuss what's going on with this issue. It is a melanoma.

"There's this phrase called a malignant melanoma – you know once you get something and you find out all about it – that is a redundant phrase because if it is a melanoma, it is malignant."

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What are the early symptoms of skin cancer?

Many people aren't aware of what skin cancer can look like.

First and foremost, it can cause moles to change.

But it can also create lumps and lesions that people mistake for spots.

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

Most experts recommend using the simple “ABCDE” rule to look for symptoms of melanoma skin cancer, which can appear anywhere on the body.

There are five letters/words to remember:

  1. Asymmetrical – melanomas usually have two very different halves and are an irregular shape
  2. Border – melanomas usually have a notched or ragged border
  3. Colours – melanomas will usually be a mix of two or more colours
  4. Diameter – most melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter
  5. Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma

Other signs to look out for include moles that are:

  • Swollen and sore
  • Bleeding
  • Itchy
  • Crusty

In women, the most common specific location for melanoma skin cancers in the UK is the legs.

Men are more likely to see melanomas in their trunk – the back or torso.


The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin, the NHS says.

It persists for a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.

In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers. Cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.

The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are basal cell cancer and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell cancer (BCC)

Basal cell cancer (BCC) is sometimes referred to as a rodent ulcer, and this affects the outermost layers of cells in the skin.

Signs of BCCs include a skin growth that:

  • Looks smooth and pearly
  • Seems waxy
  • Looks like a firm, red lump
  • Sometimes bleeds
  • Develops a scab or crust
  • Never completely heals
  • Is itchy
  • Looks like a flat red spot and is scaly and crusty
  • Develops into a painless ulcer

Around 75 per cent of all skin cancers are BCCs. These are typically slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body.

If treated at an early stage, this form of skin cancer is usually completely cured.

If they do become more aggressive, BCCs may spread into the deeper layers of the skin and into the bones – which can make treating it more difficult.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Another form of non-melanoma skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.

This is a cancer of the keratinocyte cells which are in the outer layer of the skin.

These cells are mainly found on the face, neck, bald scalps, arms, backs of hands and lower legs.

A lump on the skin may:

  • Appear scaly
  • Have a hard, crusty cap
  • Be raised
  • Be tender to touch
  • Bleed sometimes

Non-melanoma skin cancer most often develops on areas of skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest and back.

What are the advanced symptoms of skin cancer?

Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.

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While these symptoms may be caused by another underlying health issue, Cancer Research UK warns they are also signs of advanced melanoma:

  • Hard or swollen lymph nodes
  • Hard lump on your skin
  • Unexplained pain
  • Feeling very tired or unwell
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Build up of fluid in your tummy (abdomen) – ascites
  • Tummy pain

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