Skin cancer is a disease that is very common and more than 1 million people are diagnosed with it each year. It is often not life threatening if caught early enough and it generally responds very well to treatment. The symptoms are easy to determine because it usually appears first as a growth or as an abnormal accumulation of cells on the skin’s surface. It may also show up as a sore that does not heal or that bleeds, scabs over or crusts.
Most skin cancer is painless and it usually occurs somewhere on skin that has been exposed to the sun. Changes on the skin do not necessarily mean that a cancerous condition is present. Most people have moles or other growths that are perfectly harmless and do not require removal. Some people do choose to have these moles removed for cosmetic purposes.
Most of the time, any new growth found on the skin or a change in an old skin growth is not cancerous. However, to be absolutely sure it needs to be evaluated by a medical provider. As they become cancerous, these growths tend to change size or color or turn into sores that do not heal. It is important for individuals to do regular skin self-examinations and to watch for any symptoms of skin cancer. This is very true for people who have had skin cancer in the past because the disease tends to re-occur. Self-examinations are excellent ways to find an early cancer when it’s at its most curable stage.
The most common type of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma, usually occurs on parts of the body that have been exposed to the sun. These parts include the face, neck, back and chest. Squamous Cell Carcinoma also appear on these areas but are more likely to also appear on the top of the arms and hands. Malignant Melanoma, the most dangerous form, usually forms on the trunk of the body in the area between the neck and the hips. This is an area that doesn’t get constant exposure from the sun. Skin cancer symptoms can be present in any of the body but the preceding are the most common skin cancer sites.