How To Recognize Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a serious disease that can be deadly if not treated early. It is important to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of skin cancer in order to get treatment as soon as possible. Skin cancer can often look like a rash, a sore that does not heal, or a change in the color or texture of the skin. If you notice any of these changes, it is important to see a doctor right away. Skin cancer is most often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. People who have fair skin, red hair, freckles, or a history of sunburn are at higher risk for developing skin cancer.
Common Types of Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, it starts in the basal layer of the skin and can be treated with various methods depending on the severity of the cancer. The cause of basal cell carcinoma is sun exposure. Always seek advice from a doctor if you have any suspicious moles or Growths on your skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It starts in the upper most part (squamous layer) of the skin and can be treated with various methods depending on the severity of the cancer. It’s important to remember to make sure you get regular checkups for this form of cancer. If skin cancer is detected early on, it can be cured with surgery. However, if allowed to grow too long before treatment, it may require additional treatments and care after diagnosis.
Melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer, and can be the most deadly. Melanoma accounts for approximately 5% of all skin cancers, and it can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Always seek advice from a doctor if you have any suspicious moles or Growths on your skin.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) (Basal cell and Squamous cell) is very common and accounts for over 95% of all skin cancer cases. Early diagnosis is crucial for a positive prognosis because successful treatment often results in a full recovery.
ABCDE’s of Melanoma Skin Cancer
It is important to know the ABCDE’s of melanoma skin cancer, as they can help you identify skin cancer early and allow for better treatment.
A – Asymmetry – If one side of the mole/body is darker than the other, or if you draw a line through it and the two halves do not match. This could be a sign you have skin cancer.
B – Border – Uneven, Jagged or notched borders. Spots that Grow and Don’t Fade Away. These all could be signs of skin cancer, and should be looked into right away.
C – Color – If a mole or growth has more than one color this could be a sign or If you’re experiencing any confusion or difficulty determining if its different, you should always check with your dermatologist.
D – Diameter – If the diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, 1/4 inch, then you should have this looked at by your dermatologist as well.
E – Evolution – Moles that evolve or suddenly grow in size, shape, color, elevation, crusting or itching should be examined by your doctor as soon as possible.
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However, anyone can get skin cancer, so it is important to take precautions to protect your skin from UV radiation. Some ways to protect yourself include wearing sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wearing a hat and sunglasses when outdoors. Skin cancer can be treated successfully if it is caught early, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and call Clear Choice Dermatology if you have any concerns about a suspicious spot or growth.
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