Watch out for signs of skin cancer!
Skin cancer is quite common, one in five Americans will have a basal cell carcinoma. Many people ignore their earliest signs and symptoms, because they are mistaken for benign lesions. Early detection of skin cancers allows for less invasive treatments.
The following are the three main varieties of skin cancer and their symptoms:
- Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can spread to other organs if ignored. Warning signs include new brown spots on the skin or existing spots which change color, size or shape. These can be on sun exposed or non sun exposed sites. If a spot is bleeding or crusting that is a definite sign of a lesion that needs to be evaluated.
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. The signs are red, pale or pearly-colored bumps. These sometimes masquerade as a pimple that wont go away.
- Squamous cell carcinoma strikes typically when you have accumulated a significant amount of sun. They are thick scaly red lesions. These often start out as actinic keratosis which are flat red to skin colored areas that are constantly flaky.
Some common skin cancer signs:
- New brown spots
- Brown spots that grow in size
- Spots that change color
- Spots that become slightly raised from the skin
- Lesions that bleed or ‘weep’, feel itchy or tingly
- An irregular border to the spot
- Spots which look different from your other spots