Skin cancer symptoms you should never ignore as Too Hot To Handle’s Harry Jowsey diagnosed aged 26

By Staff 7 Min Read

Realty TV star Harry Jowsey has urged his followers to get ‘checked’ after receiving a shock skin cancer diagnosis. So, here are all the warning signs to look out for – and how you can reduce your risk

Netflix star Harry Jowsey has urged people to get ‘checked’ after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

The 26-year-old, who shot to fame after appearing on the reality TV show Too Hot To Handle, made the announcement on TikTok. He told his followers a mole he’s had on his shoulder for a couple of years was checked by a dermatologist and turned out to be cancerous.

In the video, Jowsey urged people to ‘wear sunscreen’ – especially with summer quickly approaching – adding: “If you’re a freckly little frog like me, go get a mole map and get your body checked because you never know. I’ve had this on my shoulder for like a year or two and I had no idea.”

So, what are the main symptoms of skin cancer, when should you see a doctor, and how can you reduce your risk?

Symptoms of skin cancer

When we talk about skin cancer, you will often hear experts refer to two different types: non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma. The first refers to a group of cancers that ‘slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin’. While melanoma is less common, it spreads faster in the body.

The NHS states the main warning sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is a ‘growth or unusual patch on the skin’. This is most likely to occur in areas exposed to the sun, such as the neck and shoulders. However, it can present itself in any part of the body and can ‘vary in colour size and texture.’

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal – this may look see-through, shiny pink, pearly white or red. According to Cancer Research UK, it may feel ‘sore, rough and have raised edges’.
  • An ulcer on the skin that hasn’t healed within four weeks.
  • A lump that might be ‘small, slow growing, shiny and pink or red’.
  • Red patches on the skin that may be itchy
  • A change to moles or freckles

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According to Wales Online, many doctors will use an ABCDE checklist to help people look out for melanoma warning signs. However, it’s worth pointing out that these symptoms can be harder to spot on black or brown skin:

A: Asymmetry. If one side of your mole is different to the other.

B: Border irregularity. Look out for moles with ‘uneven’ edges.

C: Colour variability. Does your mole contain more than one colour, or has it recently changed in colour?

D: Diameter. Flag any moles that are bigger than 6mm across to your Doctor.

E: Evolution. Has your mole changed in size or shape?

Reduce your risk of skin cancer

Cancer Research UK makes it very clear: most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. “A history of sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer,” the charity states. “The risk is especially high if you were sunburnt several times during your childhood. People who work outside such as farm workers, gardeners and building site workers are also at an increased risk of non melanoma skin cancer.”

To reduce your risk of skin cancer, it is advised to stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun is at its strongest. Regularly use suncreen with a high SPF, cover up with long sleeves and trousers and avoid using sunbeds. People with certain skin conditions including eczma and psoriasis are also more likely to develop skin cancer – as well as those with a weakened immune system or those in occupations working with certain chemicals such as coal tar, soot, and arsenic.

If you or a loved one is struggling with cancer, you can get help and support here.

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