Detecting Skin Cancer: How to Spot Suspicious Moles and When to Seek Medical Attention
Skin cancer is a growing concern worldwide, and it’s crucial to understand how to identify suspicious moles and when to seek medical attention. Although skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, it is also one of the easiest to cure, especially if detected early. In this blog post, we will look at the various types of skin cancer, the signs and symptoms to watch out for, and what to do if you think you have skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and is usually non-threatening. Squamous cell carcinoma is less common, but it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is the least common, but it can be the deadliest.
Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer
The most significant sign of skin cancer is the appearance of a new, unusual spot on your skin or a mole that changes in size, shape, or color. Other symptoms may include a scaly or rough patch of skin or a sore or lesion that does not heal, becomes crusty, or oozes. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, make an appointment to see a dermatology provider.
Steps to Take for Early Detection
Early detection is key to successfully treating skin cancer. To detect suspicious spots, use the “ABCDE” rule.
- A stands for asymmetry, something that looks different on one side than it does on the other.
- B is for border irregularity, when the edges of a spot or mole may be uneven.
- C stands for color variation, where one side may be a different color than the other.
- D is for diameter, which means if your spot or mole is larger than a pencil eraser it could be suspicious.
- E stands for evolving shape or color, which means if your spot changes in size, shape, or color over time then it could be dangerous and you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but some factors can increase the risk. Those with fair skin, a history of sunburn, excessive sun exposure, or those who have a family history of skin cancer are more likely to develop skin cancer. If you have any of these risk factors, take extra care when exposed to the sun, and be vigilant about monitoring your skin for any signs of abnormalities.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you notice a suspicious spot on your skin, contact your dermatology provider immediately. They will assess the spot and perform a biopsy if necessary. If skin cancer is detected, they may refer you to a Mohs surgeon for further treatment.
Skin cancer is a serious health concern, but early detection can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment. Understanding the different types of skin cancer, the signs and symptoms, the importance of early detection, and the risk factors for skin cancer are all essential in protecting your skin against skin cancer. If you notice any abnormalities on your skin, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dermatology provider. With regular monitoring and early detection, skin cancer can be effectively treated.
About the Author
Micah enjoys helping patients with all aspects of general and cosmetic dermatology. She sees a wide variety of conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and rashes. She is most passionate about detecting and treating skin cancer, as it is one of the most common forms of cancer and quite treatable if caught early.