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Identifying Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer around the world and affects millions of people every year. So how can you protect yourself and identify symptoms of skin cancer?

Skin Cancer Prevention

Before you are diagnosed or see symptoms of skin cancer, it is important to take precautions to reduce your risk. While you and your loved ones are enjoying the fun of the spending time in the sun, be sure to always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds. It is important to check your skin head-to-toe monthly for lesions or abnormalities. Above all else, get checked regularly by a dermatologist.

Understanding Skin Cancer

Skin cancer most often develops on skin cells exposed to the sun. It affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. There are three major types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and usually occurs in areas most exposed to the sun such as the neck or face. Similarly, squamous cell carcinoma also occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body such as your face, ears, and hands.

Melanoma may occur anywhere on your body, including in an existing mole that may become cancerous.

Common Symptoms of Skin Cancer

If you are suffering from basal cell carcinoma, you may experience a pearly or waxy bump on your skin. You may also notice a flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion, or a bleeding or scabbing sore that continuously heals and returns. 

If you are suffering from squamous cell carcinoma, you may notice a firm, red nodule on your skin or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface.

Melanoma signs include a large brownish spot with darker speckles, or a mole that changes in color, size, or feel or that bleeds. You may also notice a small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear to be red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black. Sufferers of melanoma have also reported painful lesions that itch or burn as well as dark lesions on our palms, soles, fingertips, toes, or on mucous membrane lining your mouth, nose, vagina, or anus. If you or a loved one is experiencing one of these symptoms, contact your doctor. 

What To Do If You Have Symptoms of Skin Cancer

If you notice any symptoms of skin cancer or are suspicious of any moles or lesions on your skin, it is important to visit your healthcare provider. Our trained and dedicated staff will conduct a skin examination and make a proper diagnosis. In most cases, a visual inspection will determine your diagnosis, although a skin biopsy may be required to make a diagnosis on some occasions. A skin cancer diagnosis can be very scary. But with the right doctor and skin cancer treatment method, many skin cancers can be eliminated.