Detecting cancer early gives you the best possible chance of successfully treating it. The signs of skin cancer vary depending on which of the three main skin cancer types. There are: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or basal cell carcinoma.
Melanoma develops in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. It causes tumors to form, typically on the legs, trunk, back, neck, or face. However, it’s important to remember that melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including your eyes, hands, or feet.
How to Spot Skin Cancer
Moles, lesions, and spots are the primary signs of melanoma. Moles that become painful, grow, bleed, or change color should be checked immediately. Lesions may form that have irregular edges. Spots that look different from other areas of the skin appear.
How to tell if mole is cancerous
You definitely want to pay close attention to suspect moles and there’s no harm in getting an annual check by a dermatologist. Be wary of any mole or spot that changes shape, is asymmetrical, or has an irregular border. Because melanoma spreads, it’s imperative to catch it as early as possible.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the squamous cells that make up the outer layer of skin. It typically occurs in areas damaged by sun, such as the face, scalp, lips, legs, arms, and hands. It can, however, develop in other areas of the body.
People who spend a lot of time tanning, either naturally or in tanning beds, should be especially wary of any changes in their skin. Scaly sores, red nodules, and rough or sore patches could indicate squamous cell carcinoma.
This is a highly treatable type of cancer. While it’s not typically a life-threatening cancer, it can cause complications or spread if left untreated.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma develops in skin’s basal cell layer. Basal cells continually divide to form new cells, replacing the squamous cells on the skin’s surface. Like squamous cell carcinoma, it typically forms in areas of the body that receive a lot of exposure to sunlight.
People with fair hair or skin and light eyes are more likely to acquire basal cell carcinoma, especially if they’re exposed to regular stints in direct sunlight. The most common sign of basal cell carcinoma is a change in the skin. This includes the formation of white or flesh-colored bumps, lesions with dark spots, and scaly or red patches.
This type of skin cancer is the easiest to treat and is rarely deadly. However, it’s still important to seek treatment immediately if you find suspicious bumps or lesions on your skin.