Dealing with skin cancer during pregnancy

Skin cancer is very common in women of childbearing age and which some research has suggests that there may be a hormonal component to the cancers it is now thought to be largely related to the age of women rather than hormonal changes. However skin cancers during pregnancy can be easy to miss as the body is going through so many other changes.  This can be a scary realisation for many women, so here are some tips on dealing with skin cancer during pregnant. 

Do regular skin checks

While it is a normal part of pregnancy to experience changes in your skin's colour or texture, it is still important to get these changes checked out by a doctor as they can indicate skin cancer as well as other serious pregnancy related conditions. Keep an eye on your skin and let the doctor know of any changes, particularly the in colour, shape or texture of an existing mole as well as letting them know if any spots are itchy or bleeding. They can give you an initial assessment and if necessary refer you to a specialist for more assessments. 

Get treatment

The initial treatment for skin cancer is to excise the growth and check the size and type of cancer. This can be safely done at any stage of pregnancy (even just before birth) and is important in limiting the spread of cancer. If the cancer has spread it may be important to do other treatments but these may be able to be done safely during the pregnancy or immediately following birth.  The skin doctor will co-ordinate all treatment with the obstetrician to ensure your baby stays safe throughout. The earlier the cancer is caught, the lower the chance of needing extensive treatment, which is a good motivation to make sure that you get those regular skin checks done!


Once you've had one skin cancer you have a higher chance of having subsequent cancers, so it's important to go in for regular follow through treatments. The doctor may want you to have regular follow-up treatments or formal skin checks to make sure that any other spots get caught early on. 

As it is common for women of child bearing age to get skin cancer, be sure to mention any changes in your skin during pregnancy to your doctor. They can check if there is any medical reason for the changes and if necessary refer you for treatment.