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Top 10 Signs and Symptoms to Figure out Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a much dreaded form of cancer that affects thousands of people worldwide. The society, at large, still remains ignorant about this disease, its signs and symptoms and many consult a physician only after the cancer has progressed or metastasized making it too late for any form of treatment.

Skin Cancer Signs

Skin cancer can be broadly divided into two types; non-melanoma and melanoma. Non-melanoma group includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma; non-melanoma cancers are much more frequently seen than melanoma but are less dangerous than the latter. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer and is a leading cause of death in the western countries. This cancer is treatable if detected in the early stages.

There are many risk factors to developing skin cancer; the most common one being exposure to ultraviolet rays present in sunlight and also in tanning beds. All dermatologists highly recommend the application of a sunscreen with high SPF on the face and other exposed areas of the skin when going out in sunlight. Try to avoid the direct sun between 10 am and 4 pm and seek shade whenever possible. Remember, skin cancer can develop on any part of the skin especially those areas which are constantly exposed to the sun.

Let us take a look at the ten most commonly noticed signs and symptoms of skin cancer;

  1. Look for any changes in color, shape, texture or size to the existing moles, freckles or blemishes on your skin.
  2. A lump or mole on the skin surface usually pale in color and has a smooth texture. It can either have a pearly or waxy appearance. This symptom is commonly associated with basal cell carcinoma.
  3. A firm lump or nodule on the skin which is red in color. This is usually indicative of squamous cell carcinoma.
  4. Any sore on the skin surface that is not healing properly even after a month or any sore that has reopened after healing.
  5. Patches on the skin which appear rough and scaly.
  6. Any sore that bleeds or turns crusty in appearance. Presence of a bleeding sore is mostly indicative of the advanced stage of melanoma, hence has to be immediately examined by a doctor.
  7. Red or brown flat and scaly patches on the skin surface.
  8. Any new growth, mole, patch or lump which looks suspicious to your eyes. They can be itchy or scaly in appearance. Note the ABC’s of skin cancer; they are Asymmetry, Border. Color, Diameter and Elevation. Most of these patches or lumps may be painless but there are some that can be painful.
  9. Any existing moles that increase is size suddenly or become red, pink, tan or brown or appear pale and translucent.
  10. Any warts or a similar growth that has appeared on the skin which may be painful or alternatively itch and become crusty or scaly.

It is ideal to self-examine your skin periodically from time to time. Use a mirror to examine all the parts of your skin especially on the back and if you do notice any of the above mentioned signs or symptoms, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist immediately.

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Category: Cancer

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