The skin is the body’s largest organ, and safeguarding its health is essential. While many people are aware of the importance of using sunscreen and avoiding excessive sun exposure, not everyone knows how to identify the signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer is a common form of cancer, and early detection greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. This article will give you the necessary information to identify the signs of skin cancer and when to seek help from a dermatologist.
1. A Change in the Shape, Color, and Size of Moles
One of the telltale signs of skin cancer is if a mole on your body changes shape, color, and size. Moles may appear and disappear over time, but if a mole is asymmetrical, has uneven borders, shows changes in color (especially black or multiple shades of brown), or is larger than the size of ¼ inch, then it is a warning sign for skin cancer.
2. Unusual Skin Growths
Some skin growths or lesions can be an indication of skin cancer. These include red or pink scaly bumps, rough patches, open sores which do not heal, shiny pink, red, translucent, or pearly bumps, and nodules or elevated bumps. If you have a bump or nodule on your skin that is steadily increasing in size, it could be a sign of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. A new bump is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but if it continues to grow, it may be essential to have it examined by a dermatologist as soon as possible.
3. Flat, Brown, or Black Spots
Look out for flat, brown, or black marks on your skin, commonly known as liver spots. These spots usually enlarge over time, and they can appear in hidden regions of the skin, like the palms, soles, and nails. So, watch for uneven discolorations.
4. Skin Spots That Don’t Heal
If you have a lesion or spot on your skin that doesn’t heal within four weeks, it’s time to see a specialist. Non-healing sores may be a symptom of basal cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer that develops slowly and usually occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin. If not detected early, it can be disfiguring. Non-healing rough or scaly patches of skin may be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer is often raised and has an irregular border, and it may appear as a red or brown scaly patch on your skin.
5. Itchy or Painful Skin
If you experience itchy or painful skin that does not resolve with over-the-counter medications, it could be a sign of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer is more common in fair-skinned individuals who have been exposed to prolonged periods of sun exposure over their lifetimes.
6. Exposure to Sunlight
A history of sun exposure or frequent tanning sessions without any sun protection also increases the risk of skin cancer. So, if you notice any spots, bumps, or changes in your skin texture after sun exposure, you must get it checked.
7. Family History
If your family has a history of skin cancer, you should be more aware of the signs of skin cancer and have regular skin screenings to detect early signs.
Skin cancer can be prevented by being mindful of your skin’s texture and quality. If you notice any signs of skin cancer or have any concerns about any spots on your skin, it is essential to speak to your dermatologist immediately. Early detection is the best defense against skin cancer.
So, pay attention to the various signs of skin cancer and always ensure sun protection by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Stay safe and keep your skin healthy!
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