Chris Evans reveals skin cancer diagnosis live on air: Signs and symptoms of the condition

Chris Evans, pictured, has shared he has been diagnosed with skin cancer. (Getty Images)
Chris Evans has shared he has been diagnosed with skin cancer. (Getty Images)

Chris Evans has shared with his listeners that he has been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Revealing the news on his Virgin Radio show, the presenter says it was discovered in the early stages, adding that doctors believe it is treatable.

"It is a melanoma," he shared. "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. But it's been caught so early, just so you know, that it should be completely treatable."

He added he expects to be treated for the condition in mid September.

Read more: Broadcaster Chris Evans diagnosed with skin cancer (Evening Standard, 2-min read)

Jeremy Hunt says he has been treated for skin cancer. (Getty Images)
Jeremy Hunt says he has been treated for skin cancer. (Getty Images)

Evans' diagnosis comes after Jeremy Hunt, 56, shared how "blessed" he felt after his own skin cancer diagnosis came early enough to be treated.

The first sign he noticed was a mole on his head that "grew and grew". Further tests showed it was basal cell carcinoma, and he had the mole removed.

Read more: Jeremy Hunt: I was blessed with an early cancer diagnosis (The Telegraph, 4-min read)

Skin cancer: the facts

Cancer Research UK has warned that melanoma skin cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 9% in the UK between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040.

There could be around 26,500 new cases of melanoma skin cancer every year in the UK by 2038-2040, projections suggest.

The charity says getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of getting skin cancer.

Melanoma is thought to be the most serious type of skin cancer, while 'non-melanoma' skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Skin cancer signs and symptoms

Early detection

Finding skin cancer early saves lives. FACT. “Melanoma detected and removed early is almost always curable,” says Doctify rated consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. “If caught late, there is a much higher chance of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. The 5-year survival rate is 95% for early, stage 1, disease compared to about 16% for late, stage 4, disease.”

How to examine your moles

Most dermatologists recommend skin self-exam on a monthly basis.The acronym ABCDE can be extremely helpful in evaluating moles. If a mole shows any of these features, it warrants review by a GP or dermatologist to exclude melanoma.

  • Asymmetry: one half of the mole is different to the other

  • Border: irregular, scalloped or poorly defined edge

  • Colour: uneven colour or variable colours within a mole

  • Diameter: the mole is bigger than 6mm in size

  • Evolving: the mole is changing in its size, shape or colour

Other signs to look out for include any new moles, a mole that looks significantly different to the others, or any skin lesion that bleeds or fails to heal.

Mole check up. (Getty Images)
Get to know your moles. (Getty Images)

Read more on skin cancer

Different types of skin cancer

1. Basal cell carcinoma

BCC starts in the cells lining the bottom of the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and accounts for about 75 in every 100 skin cancers, according to the NHS.

Key features include:

  • red spots or marks that persist for months (whereas an acne spot or infected hair follicle usually goes away within a month), very gradually enlarging

  • sometimes, they bleeds intermittently, or the skin breaks to form a sore that is not healing

2. Squamous cell carcinoma

SCC starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis and accounts for about 20 in every 100 skin cancers.

“This type of skin cancer is related to excessive sun exposure, it can spread to local lymph nodes. Look out for a rapidly growing red spot, which usually has some crusts on the surface, can bleed and become painful,” Dr Nicole Chiang, consultant dermatologist at BMI Beaumont and Highfield hospitals in Lancashire explains.

3. Melanoma

Melanoma can arise from an existing mole, or come from a completely new mole.

While exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is a leading cause of skin cancer, you’re not necessarily risk-free if you don't sunbathe or use sun beds.

Woman putting SPF on. (Getty Images)
SPF is beneficial all year round, not just in the sunshine. (Getty Images)

Skin cancer risk factors

  • Sunburn: We all know it, burning is bad when it comes to skin cancer, but according to Dr Mahto, a person’s risk of melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns

  • Outdoor hobbies and occupation

  • Tanning bed use

  • Family history of melanoma: Approximately 10% of people with melanoma will have a family member with the disease

  • Lots of moles

  • Immunosuppression: “Often forgotten about, but a compromised immune systems as a result of chemotherapy, organ transplant, lymphoma or HIV/AIDS can increase the risk of melanoma,” Dr Mahto explains

How to reduce your skin cancer risk

Dr Mervyn Patterson, from Woodford Medical has put togther some sun-safe tips

  • Sunscreen – this should be broad spectrum containing protection against UVA and UVB and a factor of at least 15-30 should be recommended. This needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every 2 hours for maximum benefit

  • Seek shade particularly between 11am to 4pm

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses

  • Wear protective loose cotton clothing over the arms and legs

  • Try not to use tanning beds

See a GP as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your moles or freckles or have any skin abnormality. While it is unlikely to be cancer, it is always worth getting checked early.