Skin cancer symptoms review
The rate of skin cancer in adults, especially those with fair skin, is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that by the year 2020, at least one person in 50 will have at least one cancerous lesion on the skin. With this alarming statistic, it is important to be aware of the warning signs and to perform a regular self-exam. Even with melanoma, the deadliest form of cancer of the skin, survival rates are high when the disease is caught and treated in its earliest stages. For those who are at high risk for skin cancer, a yearly exam by a dermatologist is recommended. To perform a skin cancer self-check, you will need a hand-held mirror and sufficient light. Pay close attention to moles and other skin growths. Moles that are irregular in shape or color, grow quickly, or bleed can be a sign of a problem. Use your mirror to check your back, buttocks, and the back of your legs; move your hair aside and check your scalp as well. Skin cancer may also develop in unexposed areas, so be sure to check the skin between your fingers and toes. The sooner skin cancer is detected, the better chance you have of a successful cure. To help prevent skin cancer, be sure to use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher at all times and avoid exposure to full sun during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
What are the common signs of melanoma skin cancer?
Melanoma can appear as a brown spot with darker specks; a mole that changes shape, size, or color; bleeding from an existing mole; a small skin lesion on the trunk or limbs that is reddish, blue or black and irregular in shape; hard shiny bumps anywhere on the skin, or dark lesions on the palms, soles of the feet, or genitals.
Who is at greatest risk for skin cancer symptoms? While virtually anyone can develop skin cancer, there are factors that place certain individuals at a greater risk. These include fair skin and hair color, light-colored eyes, and freckles; a history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, and living in a sunny or high-altitude climate can also increase your risk. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you are more likely to develop cancerous lesions.
If I have skin cancer signs, what should I do? If you notice any irregularities in skin growths that may indicate cancer, you should contact a dermatologist or your family doctor immediately. Even if you do not have skin cancer yet, you may have what are known as pre-cancerous lesions. Early detection is critical for successful treatment, and if you have the signs of skin cancer, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.