Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Saira Farman
Skin cancer, the most common type of cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of some skin cells. This growth is often the result of damage caused by exposure to UV radiation, which comes from tanning booths and the sun. Like other cancers, skin cancer Coral Gables can become malignant and affect other parts of the body if not detected and removed early. The problem is that skin cancer symptoms can vary widely, depending on the type and location. Nonetheless, the following warning signs can alert you to contact your healthcare provider and get a diagnosis.
This prevalent form of cancer, often triggered by prolonged sun exposure, necessitates comprehensive understanding and proactive measures. Navigating through the intricacies involves not just recognizing the warning signs but also embracing preventative practices like sunscreen application, regular screenings, and sun-smart behaviors. It’s not merely about treating a disease; it’s about fostering a culture of skin health, where awareness, protection, and early detection become our armor against the sun’s potential harm. As we delve into the nuances of skin cancer, we acknowledge the importance of vigilance and education in preserving the health and vitality of our body’s largest organ.
Table of Contents
Unusual Skin Growth (General Symptoms)
Unusual skin growths are the most tell-tale symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer. They are usually the first sign you will see and may appear as an irregular patch, rash, or nodule on the skin that does not go away. These growths can be raised and usually bleed or ooze easily, especially when injured. As the cancer progresses, it may also change in shape and size and spread into the deeper layers of the skin. It can be difficult to tell whether these growths are cancerous, so you should consult your dermatologist.
Abnormal Mole (Melanoma Symptoms)
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of skin cancer. While it can develop anywhere on the body, it often grows out of an existing mole. This is why the CDC describes the best way to identify melanoma as checking for the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma. Essentially, you should consult your dermatologist if you notice a mole that is asymmetrical (A), has an uneven or irregular border (B), has multiple colors (C), has a widening diameter or is darker than surrounding moles (D), and that is evolving (E) in shape, size, or color.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Squamous cell carcinoma often develops as firm lumps on the skin. These growths usually have a rough surface and can be differentiated from basal cell carcinoma lumps, which have a pearly and smooth consistency. In the event this skin cancer fails to form nodules, you may notice a scaly, lesion-like patch that is reddish in color. This rash will develop slowly over time, failing to clear like a normal rash.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Basal cell carcinoma often affects the parts of the body with the most sun exposure, but it can develop in other places. If you have this type of cancer, you may first notice a waxy, translucent lump or smooth patch on the skin of your head or neck. You may also see an indentation or blood vessels at the center of the growth. The lesion may be flesh-colored or brownish if it develops on the chest and may become crusted or ooze and bleed when injured as the cancer develops.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Like melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma is characterized by changing moles. However, this cancer often causes new flesh-colored or red moles to develop that grow fast and are raised. If they are not new, they can develop from an existing mole that changes in color, shape, or size.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Skin Cancer
By definition, skin cancer appears in areas where the symptoms are easy to spot. This increases your chances of catching skin cancer early and seeking treatment – but only if you are vigilant and proactive. Examine your skin regularly, keeping track of any rashes, moles, or lesions and recording all changes. If you notice worrying signs, contact your healthcare provider promptly. They can assess your symptoms and perform a biopsy to determine if you have cancer. If you do, they can walk you through your best treatment options.