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Why should we monitor our lymph nodes following skin cancer diagnosis?

On occasion, some forms of skin cancer may travel to other areas throughout your body and will likely affect the lymph nodes closest to your skin cancer in the first instance.

This is most common in high-risk melanoma skin cancer and can rarely occur in non-melanoma skin cancers. Your doctor will explain whether your type of skin cancer is associated with this risk.

We encourage patients to self-examine their own lymph nodes once a month to identify any changes.

It is recommended that your first self-examination is performed soon after your follow up assessment (a clinician will check your lymph nodes during  this appointment), so you are aware of what is normal for yourself, and that at this point, nothing concerning has been identified.

Please access the information leaflet and demonstrational video below to increase confidence when checking your lymph nodes:


  1. British Association of Dermatologists - Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) (
  2. How To Check Your Lymph Glands - Melanoma Awareness - YouTube
    This is a useful 10 - minute video produced by Melanoma UK.


There is evidence that early detection of spread can improve your overall outcome which is why this is important. You are encouraged to contact your key worker or skin cancer team as soon as possible if you identify any abnormalities