Skin Awareness

Early detection of melanoma is essential

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If detected early, most cases of melanoma can be cured by surgical removal. The earlier this is done, the better the long-term outlook is likely to be. In some patients melanoma can spread from the skin to the lymph nodes or bloodstream. In its advanced stages, melanoma is often incurable.

Get to know your skin

It’s a good idea to know your own skin, it makes any new spot or lesion much easier to detect. Many melanomas develop on normal skin; this is not as well known as it should be. Others develop in an existing mole. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin including the palms and soles, the scalp or under and around the nails. In females it is most common on the lower limbs, in males on the trunk of the body.

Use our Skin and Nail Check Leaflet

As well as helping you to monitor your own skin for any changes, our leaflet gives you some key signs to look out for and an easy means of recording what you see. By making regular observations you can help catch changes early.

Click here to download our FREE skin and nail check leaflet.

While checklists are relevant for the most common form of melanoma, they are not completely reliable as melanoma can vary and may not show these features.

If there is an abnormality on your skin that is…

  • Changed – it is new or seems to have changed since you last saw it (don’t look for detail; you can see it has changed just by glancing at the lesion, that’s enough)
  • Not going away – once a new lesion has appeared, it remains on the skin for longer than 6-8 weeks
  • Odd (the most crucial test) – it simply looks strange, worries you or seems to be different from other lesions on your skin…

then you should get it looked at by a doctor, who may refer you to a specialist – usually a dermatologist.

Looks OK is not a diagnosis

Remember, if in doubt, check it out!

If you would like to receive copies of our skin and nail check leaflet for your clinic or an event, please contact


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