MELANOMA is a dangerous form of skin cancer and it can be hard to spot.

For many people it will appear in the form of a new mole or a change in size and shape of an existing mark.

Coronation Street's Sue Nicholls was previously diagnosed with the illness after an eagle-eyed viewer spotted a mole on her shoulder.

The episode originally aired in 2012 and nurse Anna Bianconi-Moore had been watching at home.

Nicholls – who plays Audrey Roberts had been in a scene with Nigel Havers who at the time had been playing love interest Lewis Archer.

While the story line was gripping, it was the acting that captured Anna's attention.

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In the scene, Nicholls had been wearing a sleeveless night dress and Anna noticed a suspicious mole on her shoulder after pausing the clip.

The nurse got in touch with producers of the ITV show to alert them.

Anna said: "I noticed it was irregular in shape and had at least three different colours that I could distinguish by standing close to the television.

"These are two of the red-flag signals that distinguish the most deadly form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma. I was obviously incredibly worried for Sue, and felt I needed to do something."

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She previously told the Daily Mail that she didn't want to come across as a deranged fan, but felt as though she had a moral obligation.

Sue took action and was told the mole was a malignant melanoma.

The mole was removed by a surgeon and following the procedure, Sue was told she would have to go back for check-ups for the next four years.

Sue previously said that because she was a teenager in the 60s, she didn't know much about sun damage and would spend hours chasing a tan.

Now she said she's much more careful and will still sit in the sun, but covered in sun cream.

As the summer in the UK heats up, our skin will be even more exposed – so it's important to stay safe and that you know the deadly signs to look out for.

Skin cancer can cause a number of abnormalities – a lump or mole that can be shiny, itchy, multicoloured or scaly are just some examples.

When should you see a doctor?

Look at the hands, chest or face of an older person, and there is a decent chance you’ll find an age spot.

Most of them are “nothing to worry about”, Dr Sagar Patel said.

But he added: “Similar to with a mole, if you notice any changes in colour, an irregular border or outline, an age spot growing or becoming raised, seek expert advice immediately.”

The key thing to remember is if you are worried, it’s always better to get a check-up.

“It’s always best to be aware of any changes in your skin and consult your GP if you have concerns,” Dr Sagar said.

Skin cancer can affect anybody – even those who don't have a history of sunbathing or sunbed use.

Melanoma skin cancer, the most deadly form of the disease, can lead to an irregular shaped new mole which is more than one colour.

It may be larger than normal and grow in size. 

Similarly, dermatologist Dr Sagar Patel said age spots “sometimes grow in size and can appear grouped together, which gives the skin a mottled appearance”.

Dr Sagar said many people still aren’t aware of what they should be looking out for when it comes to skin cancer.

He said: “Unfortunately, the UK is way behind countries such as Australia and the United States when it comes to awareness of moles.

“While regular mole-mapping is very common in other parts of the world, many Brits simply ignore changes in their skin.

“Granted, we don’t have the same warm climate, but you don’t need high temperatures to be exposed to harmful UV rays that can increase the chances of a mole becoming cancerous.”

He recommended the ABCDE melanoma checklist for keeping an eye on skin changes:

  • A – asymmetry, when half the mole doesn’t match the other
  • B – border, when the outline of the mole is irregular, ragged or blurred
  • C – colour, when it varies throughout and/or there appears to be no uniform colour
  • D – diameter, if it’s greater than 6mm
  • E – evolving, or changes in the mole.

Dr Sagar said: “This simple guide is used by skin specialists to help patients understand what they should be looking out for.

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“If you check your moles for these five points it can help you stay on top of any issues.

“But there is no substitute for having an appointment with a specialist, who will examine your skin and discuss any area of concern.”

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