Signs of Skin Cancer
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly self-exams as an important way to identify skin cancer at its earliest stages. Signs of skin cancer can vary based on the type of cancer. However, any skin abnormality, sore that will not heal or other area of concern should be further evaluated so that you can keep your skin healthier.
Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are among the most common types of skin cancer. These usually begin on parts of the body that are more likely to be exposed to sun, such as the head, arms, neck and shoulders. Basal cell cancers may look like shiny, flat areas or raised pearly bumps that may be red, pink or translucent. They may be prone to bleeding easily and may ooze before becoming crusted over. Signs of skin cancer may also include rough, scaly areas, particularly in squamous cell cancers. These tumors may grow or change slowly and be difficult to spot.
Melanoma is less common but more deadly than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Signs of skin cancer that may indicate melanoma include a new mole or a mole that is changing. Many medical professionals suggest using the ABCDE rule.
In the ABCDE rule, A refers to asymmetry, and this means that the mole or other mark is not symmetrical. B stands for border. Normal moles tend to have smooth borders while dysplastic, or abnormal, moles may have borders that are notched, jagged, irregular or blurred. C stands for color: A dysplastic mole may be various shades throughout or may have odd patches of color. The D, or diameter, refers to the size of the mole, and a mole that is larger than a pencil eraser should be further evaluated. Finally, the E stands for evolving. A mole that changes size, color or shape may indicate a problem. Also look for sores that do not heal, a new swelling, redness, itchiness, pain or a mole that oozes or bleeds and then scales over.
If you have these or other signs of skin cancer, contact our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Ghasri, our dermatologist in Los Angeles.