Getting to know your skin is probably the single most important thing you can do to help detect skin cancer symptoms. Check your moles regularly and keep a record of things popping up or growing on your skin.
If you notice any signs consistent with the list highlighted below that concern you or persist for two weeks, visit your doctor. There's a good chance that it's nothing - but why put it off? Early detection saves lives.
Skin Cancer Signs and what you should look out for:
Most cancers have some pretty obvious signs: lumps and bumps, tenderness, sickness or pain. But when it comes to skin cancer, they aren't always as plain to see especially for the untrained eye. What can make early detection tricky is that skin cancer can sometimes grow slowly and often free of glaring warning signs.
There are a few things that you can keep an eye out. Following requests from our customers, we have compiled a list thanks to a number of dermatologists who contributed to it.
Skin cancers usually present as a mole, a spot or a freckle and are sometimes visibly different to the surrounding skin. It is sometimes a new spot but can also be a pre-existing one that has changed size, shape or colour.
It is important you visit your doctor or skin specialist if you have any marks or spots on your skin that are:
Types of skin cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) - this is the most common type of skin cancer. It tends to develop slowly over months or even years. Predominantly related to cumulative sun exposure. If a BCC is left untreated, it is likely to damage surrounding tissue and organs. It usually presents itself as a pearly surfaced, pink raised lump or as a pink-red scaly area. In some instances, it may ulcerate.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) - it is less common but faster growing and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. It can be scaly or crusty, pale pink or red in colour. It may be tender to touch. Usually found in sun-exposed areas, it can take weeks or months to grow.
Melanoma - is least common but the most dangerous. When detected early, it can often be cured. If it is not diagnosed early, it may spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can be found anywhere on the body and also in non-exposed skin areas.
Know your ABCDE
Dermatologists classify melanoma using the ABCDE method.
A is for ASYMMETRY - benign moles (non-cancerous and non-malignant) are most of the time round in shape and symmetrical. Melanoma lesions are typically irregular in shape and asymmetrical.
B is for BORDER - benign moles have smooth even borders. Melanoma lesions often have uneven borders (notched edges or ragged).
C is for COLOUR - benign moles are usually a single shade of brown. Cancerous lesions often contain multiple colours (brown, black, pink, red or purple).
D is for DIAMETER - benign moles are usually less than 6mm in diameter. Melanoma and other cancerous lesions are often more than 6mm in diameter.
E is for EVOLVING - benign moles usually do not change over time. Melanoma and other cancerous lesions often grow in shape or change height over time.
Did you know:
Notice any of these signs? Early detection saves lives. Book your skin check this week for peace of mind.
Prevention is the best cure.
The SOLBARI Team
This blog is for information purposes only. Please seek help from your medical specialist if you have questions about your skin or concerns.
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."