One in five Americans will develop skin cancer before age 70. Fortunately, skin cancer doesn’t have to be as bad as you fear. If detected early, the survival rate for melanoma is 99%.
To avoid the worst possible consequences, check your skin regularly for warning signs and early symptoms.
What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
There are other warning signs, but these five are the most common ones that prompt people to see a doctor.
- Moles on the skin
Moles are key to detecting melanoma.
There is a high chance of detection by checking moles once a month with the ABCD method.
Asymmetry – One side of your mole is not the same as the other.
Borders – Moles have indistinct or irregular borders.
Color-Color varies from one region to another.
Diameter – Melanomas are usually larger than a pencil eraser.
Evolving – The mole is changing in size, shape and color.
If you notice any of these problems with your mole, seek advice.
- Itchy, red spots
We all have rashes from time to time. A rash from insect stings, poison oak, contact dermatitis, or simply sensitive skin is not a sign of cancer. However, if you develop a red spot that doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of basal cell carcinoma.
With this type of cancer, you may experience the following:
Flat, yellow spots
Shiny, pearly raised skin that can appear as a multi-colored mix of pink, brown, blue, and/or black
Pink growth with raised edges
An open wound that won’t heal
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
- Lumps and bumps
If you notice pink, red, or purple lumps or bumps on your skin, you may be looking for signs of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).
MCC can start anywhere on the body, and Merkel cell tumors often appear as hard, pink, red, or purple lumps or bumps on the skin. They usually do not hurt, but they grow quickly and sometimes open as sores and ulcers. Although these lumps and bumps are not always painful, they can grow quickly, and because MCC is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, it is wise to make an appointment and get yourself checked right away.
A lesion that is flat, slightly raised, or large enough to be considered a bump, that appears on the legs or face and is purple, red, or brown in color can be a sign of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS).
These lesions, which first appear as spots on the skin, are not painful or itchy. Because of this, people sometimes delay getting tested. Considering what we know about the importance of early skin cancer detection, if what we’ve described sounds familiar, you should make an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible.
- Any sudden changes
The only thing certain in this world is change; However, when it comes to your skin, changes should always be viewed with a grain of salt.