Regular self-exams will help you pinpoint changes in your skin that may be early signs of skin cancer.
When it comes to skin cancer, early detection is an incredibly important factor for treatment to be successful. To learn some of the early signs of skin cancer, read on, and make sure to contact our West Seneca, NY, dermatologist, Dr. Mazin Dhafir, right away if you are at all concerned about your skin!
The Two Types of Skin Cancer
There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and while non-melanoma cancers aren't quite as dangerous, they still require immediate medical treatment.
Non-melanoma Cancer Forms
The most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas.
Basal cell carcinomas most often develop in places that get the most exposure to the sun such as the face and head. Common symptoms of a basal cell carcinoma include:
- A waxy, smooth bump
- A hard red bump
- Crusting or scaling
- Bleeding or itching
- A sore or bump that doesn’t heal
- A bump that develops into a painless ulcer
Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas are also found on areas of the body that are most exposed to the sun such as the neck, face, head, and legs. Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include a bump that:
- Is scaly or crusted over
- Is red or pink
- Causes the skin around it to be raised
- Is tender
Skin Cancer Warning Signs
When it comes to melanoma or any cancerous growths, it’s good to go through the ABCDEs to see if it might require medical attention:
- Asymmetry: If you were to draw an imaginary line down the center of a growth, a cancerous growth would not be symmetrical. Conversely, both halves of a healthy growth will look identical.
- Border: A cancerous growth is more likely to have a poorly defined, craggy, or blurred border.
- Color: A healthy mole will only be a single color while a cancerous growth may have different shades of brown, black, white, pink, or red.
- Diameter: In many cases (but not always), a mole that is over 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser) is likely to become cancerous.
- Evolving: A healthy growth will not change its appearance as you get older. If you also notice a new growth or lump it is worth scheduling a screening over.
It’s important that if you spot any unusual growths or changes in your skin that you see your skin doctor in West Seneca, NY, for a thorough evaluation. Even those who aren’t at an increased risk for developing skin cancer should still come in once a year for a full and thorough skin cancer screening. This is particularly important for those with darker skin tones, as it can sometimes be tricky to spot changes in your skin.
Concerned? Give Us a Call!
When was the last time you saw your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening? It’s a good idea to see a doctor once a year to have any moles or growths checked out by a professional to pinpoint problems early on. Call our West Seneca, NY, dermatology office today at (716) 674-1180.