Skin Cancer Signs
Many skin cancers develop on areas of the body that receive regular sun exposure, which means that they are often found early enough to minimize the damage. Monthly self-checks for new or unusual spots, sores or growths on your body are a great way to find early signs of problems that can be further evaluated by a skin care professional such as Dr. Peyman Ghasri. Skin cancer signs can vary based on the type of cancer involved.
Basal cell carcinomas often begin as pearly or waxy bumps. They may be translucent, and you may even be able to see light blood vessels in the spot. Basal cell carcinomas may also look like flesh-colored or brownish lesions that ooze or bleed occasionally before crusting over. Squamous cell carcinomas are more likely to appear as rough, firm bumps. They may be red or brown and scaly. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are considered non-melanoma skin cancers, and they can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the head, ears, neck, hands and arms.
Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer but is less common than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It often develops in an existing mole that suddenly changes or may begin as a new spot or mole. The ABCDE rule can help you better recognize melanoma skin cancer signs. A stands for asymmetry, and it means that irregular or asymmetric moles may need to be further evaluated. B stands for border. Borders should be smooth and clearly defined. Borders that are blurred, notched, rough or irregular can be skin cancer signs. C stands for color. The color should be even throughout. Moles that vary from pink, brown, tan, black or blue can be a symptom of melanoma. D stands for diameter. Most normal moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. Any mole that is larger than that should be checked out. Finally, E is for evolving. A mole that changes over the course of weeks or months can be a sign of trouble.
Because a visual exam alone is not generally enough to diagnose skin cancer, you may need to have a biopsy. Contact our dermatology office today to learn more about skin cancer signs or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ghasri, our Los Angeles skin doctor.