Skin Cancer Alert
Posted On Jun 18, 2016
Not to put a damper on your next beach outing, but it’s important to remember the downside of long summer days filled with sunshine is the increased risk of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime.
Before summer officially kicks off on June 21, you should familiarize yourself with the three major types of skin cancer and how to identify them. It’s important to check over your skin once a month for any unusual spots and keep track of moles and marks for any changes. Most cases of skin cancer can be completely cured if they are discovered in the early stages.
Here’s a quick guide to warning signs of skin cancer, so you know what to look for during your next self-examination.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common type of skin cancer with an average of four million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. BCC tends to develop on areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun, including the head and neck. It’s a slow-growing cancer but can spread to other areas of the body and invade the bone if left untreated.
What to Look For:
- A white or flesh-colored waxy bump
- A persistent non-healing open sore
- A pink or red mark with rolled borders, indented in the middle
- A reddish, brown, or bluish-black patch of skin
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer with over a million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Squamous cell carcinoma usually develops on the face, lips, ears, neck, and back of the hands. Women tend to develop squamous cell carcinoma on their legs.
What to Look For
- A firm red bump
- A scaly patch of skin that bleeds
- A open sore that doesn’t heal
- A wart-like growth that crusts and bleeds
Melanoma: The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma is expected to kill 10,130 people in 2016. If caught early enough, 98 percent of melanoma cases can be cured.
What to Look For:
- A change in an existing mole
- An asymmetrical mole or one with irregular borders
- A group of shiny, firm, dark bumps
- A mole with a diameter larger than a pencil eraser
If you notice any of these signs, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist right away. Being vigilant about your skin health and practicing sun safety can save your life.