Skin cancer is by far one of the most common types of cancer. Fortunately, if caught in the early stages, it is usually treatable. For this reason, we strongly encourage thorough self-examinations of your skin on a monthly basis. To perform an effective exam, you must know the signs to look for.
Although melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is one of the most deadly. It is extremely important to discover melanoma in its early stages. Moles are the primary indicators of melanoma. The best way to determine potentially cancerous moles is by evaluating them using the “ABCDE” method.
- A-Asymmetrical. A benign mole is usually consistent all the way across. If the sides are not symmetrical, the mole may be cancerous.
- B-Borders. The borders of a benign mole are regular all the way around. Random dips, breaks, or irregular shape may indicate a cancerous mole.
- C-Color. Benign moles are typically one color. A multi-colored mole may very well be cancerous.
- D-Diameter. Cancerous moles tend to be much larger than the benign. If a mole is larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser, it may be cancerous.
- E-Evolution.Change is a huge warning sign. This applies to most types of skin cancer, as well as melanoma. If a growth, mole, or other blemish on your skin begins to change in color, size, shape, or other way, you should have it checked by a professional.
Other Kinds of Skin Cancer
Many other kinds of skin cancer aren’t as easily recognizable as moles. It is necessary to pay attention to any new growths or raised patches on your skin. Some common warning signs include:
- Raised, reddish patches
- Shiny or pearly bumps
- Open sores that don’t heal or repetitively resurface
This list is not all encompassing. You should have a professional examine any new spots, growths, or moles that appear on your skin. If any of these occur, you should contact our office immediately! Our dermatologists have the experience necessary to catch these signs in the early stages.