Skin cancer, the abnormal growth of skin cells, is the most common cancer in the world. In fact, 1 out of every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. The majority of skin cancer cases develop on skin routinely exposed to the sun, but it can also occur on other areas of your skin. As with all cancers, early detection is paramount for the most effective treatment.
Melanoma is often referred to as the most serious skin cancer due to its tendency to spread. It can develop anywhere on your body, such as normal skin or within an existing mole that eventually becomes cancerous. Melanoma often appears on the face or the trunk with men and on the lower legs for women. Sun exposure isn’t necessary for developing melanoma.
Melanoma signs include:
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles
- A mole that changes in color or size
- A mole that bleeds
- A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black
- A painful lesion that itches or burns
- Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, or toes; or on mucous membranes
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma typically occurs in areas of your body where sun exposure is greatest, such as the neck or face.
Basal cell carcinoma may appear as:
- A pearly or waxy bump
- A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
- A bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The second-most common type of skin cancer, you’ll find squamous cell carcinoma on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as the face, ears, and hands. If you have a darker complexion, you’re more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma even in areas that aren’t frequently exposed to the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:
- A firm, red nodule
- A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface
Pre Cancers: Actinic Keratoses
You can develop dry, scaly patches or spots on your skin called actinic keratoses (AKs). AKs aren’t skin cancer, but they’re a precancerous skin growth that can turn into squamous cell carcinoma. AKs usually form on skin that gets the most sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms.
AKs are generally pink or red in color and flat, rough, or scaly on the surface. The presence of actinic keratoses indicates sun damage to the skin and will increase you risk for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
Skin Cancer Checks at Image Renu Dermatology
Early detection is the key to treating any form of skin cancer. Image Renu Dermatology offers skin cancer screenings and mole checks that can identify if you have skin cancer or actinic keratoses. If necessary, our doctor will perform a biopsy and refer you to an oncologist for further treatment.
If you notice any changes to your skin that worry you, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment for a screening as soon as possible. Keep in mind that not all skin changes are caused by skin cancer. Our team will investigate your skin changes to determine a cause.