Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer found in humans and is caused primarily by exposure to ultra violet light, although you should be especially cautious if someone in your family has suffered from skin cancer. Whether you apply sunblock unfailingly or sporadically, knowing how to spot the telltale signs of skin cancer is imperative. Often, skin cancer appears on exposed areas of the skin, which means that with a close examination of your skin, you can monitor any moles or other skin growths that develop or change over time. Knowing what to look for during a self-examination may save your life!
If you notice a change in your skin that lasts more than two weeks or notice any changes in your skin that worry you, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Skin cancer can be divided into two general groups: melanoma and non-melanoma cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common and also the least dangerous.
Where Does Skin Cancer Typically Develop?
Usually, you’ll notice changes in the skin on sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the arms, legs, face, ears, neck chest, lips and scalp. While these are the most common areas, skin cancer can also develop in covered, lesser-exposed areas such as in between toes and the palm of your hand.
Signs of Skin Cancer
- A small lump, spot or mole that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and smooth in texture.
- A red lump, spot or mole that is firm
- A sore or spot that bleeds or becomes crusty
- A sore or spot on the skin that doesn’t heal
- Rough and scaly patches on the skin
- Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown
- Any suspicious-looking new growth
While anyone is susceptible to getting skin cancer, there are risk factors that may increase your odds. Some of these risk factors are having fair skin, a history of sunburns, lots of sun exposure, moles, family history of skin cancer and increasing age.