Every year in this country, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed than cases of lung, breast, colon and prostate combined. The most common type of skin cancer in the U.S. can also be one of the most treatable, if the cancer is detected and treated early. This means learning the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, so you can alert your physician right away if any of those signs appear.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three basic types of skin cancer:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – This common skin cancer may be characterized by red, pink or brown bump. It may also appear as a sore that is flat or shrunken or persistently bleeds or reappears.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the next most common skin cancer, which may be characterized by a scaly or crusty patch or an open sore that heals slowly or comes back.
- Melanoma – The most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma may appear as a growing or changing mole, a mole that oozes or bleeds, or a new mole that grows quickly.
Although melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, any of these cancers can become disfiguring if they are left unchecked for a period of time. It is imperative to have any concerning mark or mole checked by a physician as soon as possible, to ensure treatment is as effective as possible.
Learning Your ABCDEs
When examining new and existing moles for potential signs of melanoma cancer, the most serious type of skin cancer, it is helpful to know your ABCDEs:
- Asymmetry – two sides of the mole do not match up
- Border – skin cancer often features an irregular, undefined border
- Color – cancerous moles may not be uniform in color, leading to a mottled appearance
- Diameter – the most concerning moles are usually larger than the eraser on a pencil
- Evolution – changes to a mole (in growth, color, shape or symptoms) should always be checked
While these tips can be helpful in identifying a melanoma, any changes to moles or sores, or the sudden appearance of a new mole, should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Because skin cancer can take on many different appearances, it may be difficult for anyone who is not an expert in skin issues to accurately identify skin cancer right away.
Skin cancer is a serious disease that plagues millions in the U.S. every year. If you are concerned about skin cancer, or simply want to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options, contact Incredible Vein Skin & Body at 818-423-5828 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Sam Ebrahimi.