2 hours ago
About sharing

Checking your freckles and moles regularly for any changes is recommended

Visits to the NHS melanoma skin cancer information page soared after the Duchess of York announced she’d been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

There were a total of 13,662 visits in 48 hours – equivalent to one visit every 13 seconds, NHS England says.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other areas of the body.

The main cause is ultraviolet light, which comes from the sun and is used in sunbeds – the NHS website provides advice on how to spot it.

The Duchess, Sarah Ferguson, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer, and after having several moles removed and analysed while having reconstructive surgery, she discovered she also had a form of skin cancer.

“I have been taking some time to myself as I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma,” she said on Instagram on Monday.

There are normally around 1,624 visit to the skin cancer NHS web pages in an average 48 hours, but there were eight times that number in the two days after the duchess’s announcement.

Professor Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, said: “Skin cancers can come in many different shapes and sizes, and they can be different for everyone.

“It’s important to take notice of any changes on your own body and to contact your GP practice to be checked if something doesn’t seem right.”

There is a drive to detect and treat cancers at an early stage because that gives people the best chance of successful treatment.

Moles which have an uneven shape or a mix of colours are more likely to be cancerous

What are the main symptoms of melanoma skin cancer?

a mole with an uneven shape or edges
a mole with a mix of colours
a large mole
a new mole or one that changes size, shape or colour

Moles can appear anywhere on the body but are more common in areas exposed to the sun.

The NHS website advice is to check your skin for any unusual changes, and see your GP if you notice any. You should use a mirror or ask a partner or friend to check any areas you cannot see.

There is more information on what signs to look out for on the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) website with pictures of abnormal moles.

CRUK says around 16,700 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year. That number has gone up over the last few decades, making melanoma the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

The Duchess of York is the third royal to announce a medical procedure this week.

King Charles announced he was going to be treated for an enlarged prostate last week and is currently in hospital for the procedure. There was a surge in searches for his condition on the NHS website too.

The Princess of Wales is also in hospital in London after having planned abdominal surgery.

Related Topics

More on this story

18 January
4 days ago
17 January
17 January

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.