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Oncology nurse points out the differences in age spots and skin cancer

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Brown, who specialises in managing skin conditions related to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, shared his expertise in identifying skin cancer.

“Some features may overlap,” he elaborated. “However, several key characteristics can help distinguish between the two.”

Age spots, for example, “typically appear as small, flat, brown or black patches” that can appear on areas of skin most commonly exposed to the sun.

You typically find sun spots appear on the face, hands, shoulders and arms.

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“They are usually uniform in colour and have well-defined edges,” Nurse Brown stated.

Age spots “are generally stable and don’t undergo significant changes over time”.

While there may be a gradual increase in the number of age spots over time, or they darken slightly, they “typically remain unchanged for extended periods”.

Skin cancer, on the other hand, “may present as irregularly shaped or asymmetrical growths, with variations in colour, texture, and size”.

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When a lesion is cancerous it can “exhibit rapid growth and change in size, colour, or shape over weeks or months”.

Nurse Brown advised: “New or changing lesions should be monitored closely.”

You will also need to check out all areas on your body, not just those areas that are exposed to the sun when looking out for skin cancer lesions.

Nurse Brown explained: “Skin cancer lesions can develop on any part of the body, including sun-protected areas, such as the palms, soles, genital region, or inside the mouth.”

While age spots are typically smooth and flat, skin cancer lesions may be rough, scaly, or warty.

“Skin cancer lesions may also ulcerate or bleed,” added Nurse Brown. “Age spots generally do not cause any symptoms or discomfort.”

Nurse Brown added: “It’s important to remember that this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

“If you have any concerns about a skin lesion or spot, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist or healthcare provider for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.”

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