Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. It’s almost always associated with exposure to the sun’s UV rays, but how do you now if you have it? Here is a quick overview of some of the symptoms of basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma skin cancer.
Develops in more than one million people annually. These abnormal cells may develop as growths that are flat, firm and pale. They may also develop into small raised red or pink, translucent or shiny areas that may bleed following minor injury.
Develops in more than 300,00 people annually and can appear in several different ways. Some bumps may have a rough texture and develop rapidly. It may also develop slowly over time into flat red patches on the skin. often this form of cancer is identified by a sore that doesn’t heal. It can also develop on areas of skin damaged by sunburns, that is scarred or was exposed to chemicals or radiation.
Accounts for less than 5% of skin cancers. An easy way to identify melanoma is by remembering these ABCD’s:
- Asymmetry – one side of the growth does not match the other
- Border irregularity – the edges of the growth may appear ragged, blurred or notched
- Color – the color is not the same throughout. Shades of tan, brown or black may be apparent in the same growth
- Diameter – more than one quarter inch in diameter, or larger than the size of a pencil eraser
Not all skin cancers are obvious, and the changes taking place can happen so slowly you may not notice them. Regardless of how rapidly change occurs, any suspicious change in skin should be evaluated immediately. This is the reason you should check yourself and your loved ones at least monthly for any changes in your skin. Early detection can lead to cure rates of up to 100%. That’s a success that everyone can celebrate!
- Skin Cancer-Squamous Cell Carcinoma; College of American Pathologist; First Edition-December 2006
- ACS, Cancer Facts and Figures 2008, Atlanta, GA: ACS 2008
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