If you are older you may never have heard about the need for sun screen until recently. This is because in the last decade or so, the link between skin cancer and sun exposure has become more and more evident. If you are someone who spent years without wearing sunscreen, knowing how to recognize the signs of skin cancer can be the best way to keep healthy and get treatment when and if it becomes necessary.
Even people who do not know a lot about signs of skin cancer have probably heard about malignant melanoma. This is because skin doctors stress the importance of identifying these fast spreading, deadly tumors. They are called melanomas because they start in moles and areas where melanin, the pigment factor in skin, is present. People with more melanin in their skin often have more of a protection against these tumors but it is no reason to go without sun screen if you will be outside.
One of the easiest ways to remember the signs of melanoma is through the ABC’s of skin cancer. A mole needs to have an Appearance that does not change rapidly. If you have a mole that suddenly grows larger or is raised from the surface of the skin, get it checked out. If the mole is benign, it will normally have Borders which are even and regular. A mole with jagged edges is also one that needs to be evaluated by a professional. The Color of a mole should be normal as well. Moles are usually a shade of brown and any other color should at least be looked at before it is dismissed as being nothing to worry about.
Do you know someone who has been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. It is interesting that while basal cell cancers are the most common, most people do not know what they look like or how common they are. They can look like a number of things including a wart, a raised sore with a sunken, weeping middle or an open wound that will scab over but will not heal permanently. The good news is that through the use of surgery and other treatments it is possible to recover quite well from basal cell carcinoma since they do not tend to spread. The bad news is that they can be quite disfiguring and often form on the face or other visible areas of the body.
The other most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Like basal cell carcinoma, these also often look like pimples, raised lumps or scars. They also tend to be slower growing and not as likely to spread as a melanoma is. However, with any potential skin cancers it is important to get diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.
You can expect that if you visit your doctor with a suspected skin cancer, they will inspect the area and test to make sure that it is not cancerous. This usually means taking a sample of the tissue to biopsy it. Once the test results have come back, treatment will begin. The kind of treatment can vary between people and cancers so you can see why an accurate and early diagnosis is as important as possible.
The kind of treatment can vary between people and cancers so you can see why an accurate and early diagnosis is as important as possible. It can mean the difference between survival and death and nobody wants to think they could have saved their life if they had taken the time to get in to see their doctor. Taking the time to learn how to recognize and diagnose possible skin cancers can be the best skill you have learned yet.