Skin Cancer Awareness Month: The Top 3 Signs to Look For

 Skin Cancer Awareness Month: The Top 3 Signs to Look For

Early detection is key to effective skin cancer treatment. And while routine dermatology appointments can spot signs of skin cancer, self-checks also play a role. So, what should you look for while inspecting your skin? If you see any of these signs, be sure to call your dermatologist.

Changes in Moles

Abnormal moles are some of the most common indicators or melanoma, which is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. A healthy mole is typically regular in shape and color, keeping the same appearance over time. You can use the ABCDE guide to check your moles for signs of skin cancer:

  • A (Asymmetry): Notice whether both sides of the mole mirror each other. Look for sides that don’t match.
  • B (Border): Check for irregular borders on your moles. Take note of blurred edges and notches.
  • C (Color): Healthy moles have even color. Look for varying shades of brown, black, blue, red, pink, or white.
  • D (Diameter): Moles should be about the size of a pencil eraser (approx. six millimeters) in diameter. Call your doctor if you see a mole that’s larger than this or getting larger.
  • E (Evolving): Check your moles regularly for any changes in shape, size, or color.

Keep in mind that these aren’t the only signs of melanoma. However, it’s important to call your dermatologist if you notice any changes. They will perform a professional skin cancer screening and take a biopsy of the mole if they notice any abnormalities.

Changes in Skin Texture

Skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body, but it mostly occurs in sun-exposed areas. These include the face, neck, arms, legs, hands, and scalp. Skin cancer symptoms can vary in all of these areas, and the signs aren’t always obvious. However, looking for changes in skin texture can be helpful when spotting the early signs of skin cancer.

These changes can include bumps, scar-like lesions, scaling, crusting, and flaking. You should check for areas that appear shiny, waxy, or pearly. Skin that’s unusually firm can also be cause for concern. Symptoms like these are often associated with non-melanoma skin cancers like squamous and basal cell carcinomas.

Itching or Bleeding

Constant or recurring sores can also be a sign of skin cancer. Look for open sores that fail to heal, sores that constantly bleed or ooze, and raised itchy patches. Some itchy patches may be painful as well. These areas of discomfort are often persistent, so it’s important to notice any sore or lesion that doesn’t appear to be healing.

Keep in mind that the above signs aren’t always signs of skin cancer -- nor are they the only symptoms of skin cancer. Dermatology and skin cancer specialists will be your best resource if you’re concerned about an area of your skin. Be sure to call your dermatologist as soon as possible if you notice any changes. It’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Have questions about skin cancer symptoms and diagnosis? The team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are here to help. Our skin cancer dermatology center offers routine screenings, diagnosists, and comprehensive skin cancer treatments. Located in Carson, CA and the surrounding area, we are here to provide early detection. Contact us today to discuss your skin health.

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