The Signs of Skin Cancer You Should Be Aware Of
You can’t always watch your skin for signs of skin cancer. It’s helpful to know what a ‘normal’ mole looks like and keep a record of any changes.
If you notice any signs on the list below, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. You might be okay, but it’s worth getting checked out to make sure at the earliest stage.
What are the early signs of skin cancer?
Skin cancer can be less obvious & those with untrained eyes may not be able to notice the signs of the disease at first. Most cancers have obvious symptoms, however, skin cancer is different.
Some forms of skin cancer grow slowly. They may start out small and be difficult to spot unless you are very diligent with checking your skin regularly or have frequent medical examinations.
To save time, we’ve compiled a list of some things you can watch out for. A number of our customers asked us to share the information and we took it from dermatologists who contributed to it.
Skin cancers are usually found on the skin as a mole, spot or freckle that is visibly different to the rest. Sometimes they are new & sometimes they are existing spots that have changed size, shape or colour.
You should visit your doctor or skin specialist if you have any spots or markings on your skin
- Increasing in size
- It’s shape is morthing
- It bleeds and is itchy
- It’s shiny in appearance
- It has a skin like colour is a brown tint to it
- Red nibs
- Can look coarse
- Has hard crusty parts
- Has brown dots
Skin cancer types
Many people don’t realize that there are 3 main categories of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Plenty of people live out their lives without ever getting skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer. It generally develops slowly over a period of months or years before being noticed, and due to it being painless, can be left untreated for a while.
A BCC is primarily related to cumulative sun exposure and could lead to damage of the surrounding tissue and organs if left untreated. Usually, it presents itself as a pearly surfaced, pink raised bump or a scaly pink-red area. In some cases, however, BCCs can cause significant changes in colour and shape.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – it’s usually less common but faster-growing, and if untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. It can be scaly or crusty, pale pink or red in colour. It may also be tender to touch. Usually found in sunny climates.
There are different types of melanomas with the least common and most dangerous type being melanoma.
Early detection can often lead to curing, although if it is not detected early, it may spread and become life-threatening. Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body and also in areas that aren’t exposed to sunlight.
Understand the alphabet acronym
Dermatologists classify melanoma using the ABCDE classification in order to identify the type of melanoma, which is important for getting early detection.
ASYMMETRY – Benign moles are usually round in shape and symmetrical. Melanoma lesions, on the other hand, tend to be irregular in shape and asymmetry.
BORDER – benign moles have a smooth ‘even’ border, while melanomas usually have an irregular or notched border.
COLOUR – Benign moles are usually one colour (brown, for instance). Cancerous lesions often contain multiple colours (brown, black, pink, red or purple).
DIAMETER – Benign moles are usually less than 6mm in diameter. Melanoma and other cancerous lesions are much bigger, often more than 6mm in diameter.
EVOLVING – Moles usually do not change over time. Cancerous lesions grow in shape and height, and benign moles may develop these features too.