How Do You Know if You Got Skin Cancer: Top 5 Warning Signs
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with over two million people diagnosed every year. In fact, one in five Americans will have skin cancer during their lifetime and over the past three decades, more Americans have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Are these statistics worrying for you? There is a good reason why the skin cancer is not getting as much attention as pancreatic, breast or lung cancer: it can be easily cured when it is detected early. The best thing is to know how to read the warning signs.
There are two main forms of skin cancers: basal and squamous cell skin cancers and melanomas. First category, the most common once, is non-melanoma. The second, melanomas, are cancers that account for less than 5% of skin cancers, according to American Cancer Society, but even though, somebody dies of melanoma every 57 minutes…
Here is the top 5 warning signs of skin cancer, equally important. Every one of them should make you to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
The geography of healthy spots and moles is perfectly clear. Any winding, irregular or poorly defined borders are a potential risk of skin cancer. And still talking about geography, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) provides you a body mole map to guide you on-line through your skin evaluation. Don’t be afraid to go anywhere, as melanoma can hide between your toes, under your tongue or in your private areas.
Any mole or colored spot on your body shouldn’t be bigger than a green pea. Even though a melanoma is usually bigger than 5 or 6 millimeters across when diagnosed, it could be as smaller as a sunflower seed.
And speaking of size, you should also pay attention to your visible sores if you have any. — According to AAD, skin cancers may look like sores that don’t heal. A long-lasting sore in the mouth, on the penis or vagina can indicate an early stage of cancer.
Different to the touch
Feel every mole, warts, freckles or spot on your body. If any of them feels itchy, tender or painful or if you don’t think they have the same size, color or shape as they did last month, last year or ten years ago, you should consult a dermatologist.
You should also pay attention to all those pink bumps that last more than four weeks. You could think they are harmless pimples in their early stages, most of them are, but may actually be basal or squamous cell carcinoma.
The geometry is very important for spots and moles on your body, so cut them in half with an imaginary diameter. If you don’t get a mirror image, it is usually a bad sign, so go to the doctor.
Any variation in tone or shade from an area to another is not an artistic technique, but a sign that something could be wrong. Multiple shades of browns, reds, blacks or dark blue are not an abstract body painting, but a serious cause of concern.
Finally, you should know that most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays coming from natural sunlight or tanning booths, but are easy to recognize and slow-growing.