Prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to skin cancers.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer that arises from pigment-containing cells called melanocytes. It is most commonly found in sun-exposed areas that have suffered from intense exposure to UV light. Early warning signs of melanoma include any new lumps or bumps to the skin, or any old moles that are changing over time (getting bigger, changing color). Click the arrow to learn what to look for.
Always look for the ABCDE’s when evaluating your moles.
- Asymmetry: Moles should be symmetric, not asymmetric when you cut them in half.
- Border: Moles should be round or oval and not have irregular borders
- Color: Moles should be one color, not multiple colors in the same mole or darker than the other moles on your body
- Diameter: Moles should be smaller than a pencil eraser and should not be growing in size. They should also not be Different than your other moles. What we like to call the “ugly duckling mole” that does not fit your group of moles
- Evolving: Moles should not be changing in color size or shape
When found and treated early most melanomas are curable, but if not, they can spread to other parts of your body thus becoming harder to treat and sometimes fatal. Treatment includes excision of the lesion with wide margins to ensure clearance of the harmful cells. Sometimes necessary is a biopsy of the local lymph nodes to ensure the melanoma has not spread to other parts of the body.
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are also known as precancers since if left untreated they can turn into Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC). They are very common patches of red or pink, rough, sun-damaged skin. The texture is often compared to that of sandpaper. They result from long-standing exposure to sun or tanning beds.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer and also the most common cancer seen in humans worldwide. It can take on a variety of appearances but most often consists of a solitary shiny, pink bump that is slow-growing and may be fragile and bleeds easily.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a common type of skin cancer caused by UV rays in the sun or tanning beds that are typically found on areas of the skin that are more exposed to the sun like the head, neck, face, hands, and legs.