What are the Five Signs of Skin Cancer?
There are five signs that a mole or other skin abnormality is the potential sign of skin cancer. Knowing the five signs of skin cancer can save you life, or the live of a loved one. Check your skin often, especially any pre-existing moles or skin spots, and look for any changes that might be a sign of skin cancer. Remembering the signs is easy, all you need to remember is ABCDE.
The first sign of that a mark may be skin cancer is if it is asymmetrical, or not even on both sides. The shape is irregular. If you were to take a pre-existing, non-cancerous mole and draw a dividing line across it, it should be the same on the top and bottom, and on the left and right sides. If the mole is not even on all sides, it should be brought to the attention of your doctor for closer examination.
Look at the outer edges of the spot. Check for “bumpy”, scalloped, notched or uneven edges. The border may also look blurry or irregular. A mole or other regular, non-cancerous skin spot will have smooth, even edges that are clearly defined. A mole that starts out normal, with a regular border, can later develop an irregular border.
The color of a normal mole or other spot on your skin should be uniform, or even over the entire spot. If the coloring is uneven, it might be cancerous. As the cancer advances, the color changes may include areas of red, black, white, or darker and lighter shades of brown. A change in color can also be a sign of a problem; make sure you check any moles or other spots often, to make sure the color hasn’t changed at all.
The diameter of the mole or skin spot is also something to watch as a potential sign of skin cancer. A normal growth is six millimeters or smaller, or about the size of a pencil eraser, although most are smaller than this size. If the mole begins to grow, or if it is larger than six millimeters, it may be cancerous. Although some moles are larger than six millimeters, and still non-cancerous, don’t assume that a large mole is normal without making an appointment to have it checked.
The fifth sign of skin cancer is elevation. A non-cancerous mole will be even with the skin, or only slightly elevated. The top will be smooth, not bumpy, and it won’t grow any larger. A potentially cancerous spot will be bumped up higher than the skin around it. The spot may have some areas that are higher than others, or it may have a bumpy feeling along the top. A cancerous growth may grow higher, sometimes rapidly.
Knowing the five signs of skin cancer is important, but it is also important to stay aware of any changes in your skin. Any changes in your skin, including thickness, scaliness, or just a rough texture, can be a sign of skin cancer. The test for skin cancer is safe and minimally invasive; if you have any of the potential signs, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to be tested.
Skin Cancer Foundation: Skin Cancer Facts. Accessed from: https://www.skincancer.org/Skin-Cancer-Facts/
Healthy Skin-Care: Five Signs of Skin Cancer. Accessed from: https://www.healthy-skincare.com/five-signs-of-skin-cancer.html
America Cancer Foundation: Skin Cancer Facts. Accessed from: https://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/ped_7_1_What_You_Need_To_Know_About_Skin_Cancer.asp?sitearea=PED