Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Can You Tell If a Spot is Cancerous?

Pacific Dermatology cancerous skin spot Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Can You Tell If a Spot is Cancerous?

Make Sure That Spot Isn't Cancerous

Everyone is vulnerable to skin cancer, so it’s important to check your skin regularly for any changes. But if you do find a new spot, can you tell if it’s skin cancer? The key is to know what skin cancer symptoms to look for, so you can see your dermatologist as soon as possible.

Can You Tell If a Spot Is Skin Cancer?

Unless you’re a licensed dermatologist, you can’t tell if a spot is skin cancer. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t detect suspicious skin changes. The signs of skin cancer can vary, so it’s important to take note of any new or evolving spots on your skin. To check your skin, stand in front of a mirror in a well-lit room. Closely examine all areas of your skin, including tricky places like between the toes and on the scalp. Specifically, here are some signs to look for:

  • New or Changing Moles: Changing moles or dark marks on the skin are common signs of melanoma, which is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Look for any moles that are growing, changing in shape, or changing in color. Asymmetry and blurry borders are other signs to watch out for.
  • New or Changing Bumps: Check your skin for any new bumps, as well as those that are growing. Keep an eye out for bumps that are shiny, pearly, or bleeding. These are common signs of non-melanoma skin cancer, especially basal cell carcinoma.
  • Changes in Skin Texture: Pay attention to areas of the skin that are itchy, scaly, rough, or red. These areas may also bleed. Changes in skin texture like this are common signs of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Persistent Sores: Sores that don’t heal can be a sign of skin cancer. These spots might bleed, ooze, or itch as well.

The bottom line is that it’s important to take note of any changes on the skin. While these changes don’t always indicate skin cancer, they should never be ignored. Early detection can make skin cancer highly treatable.

What Should You Do If You Notice a Spot?

If you notice a spot that you’re concerned about, be sure to call your dermatologist as soon as possible. They will likely ask you to come in for a skin cancer screening. During this appointment, they will ask you about your skin concerns and inspect your skin more closely. If the doctor suspects that a spot could be skin cancer, they will likely take a biopsy.

However, you shouldn’t wait to find a spot to see your dermatologist. Most dermatology specialists recommend annual skin cancer screenings. Signs of skin cancer might not always be obvious, but your doctor knows what to look for. These routine screenings can detect cancerous areas early, which makes treatment more effective.

If you want to learn more about skin cancer prevention and early detection, the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists is here to answer your questions. Our skin cancer dermatology providers offer skin cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatment. We are located in Seal Beach, CA and several of the surrounding communities, so contact us today to book an appointment.

Request an Appointment