Sunshine and hot days are meant for the beach and lounging by the pool. Everyone loves to have that sun-kissed look, however too much of a good thing can cause problems. Namely, skin cancer. The frustrating part is that most skin cancers are asymptomatic which means you might not know you have something wrong until it’s too late. So just what are these virtually invisible signs?
To spot a melanoma, all you need to do is follow the ABCDE’s of moles. These changes could be overlooked or almost impossible to see but if you do examine your skin and find some of these changes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Asymmetrical (healthy moles are symmetrical). Draw an imaginary line across your mole and if it is uneven and not symmetrical, there may be cause for a checkup.
Borders are important when checking your moles. If the edges are ragged or choppy, there could be something more going on than a simple mole. Cancer doesn’t grow evenly and it usually grows fairly quickly.
Color is crucial when assessing any growths. If it is all one color, you are more than likely safe. Monitor the mole for any color changes such as lighter or varying shades within the mole. If that occurs, you may be dealing with a cancerous growth.
Diameter of your mole is also something to consider. Largely, many cancerous growths are larger than 6 millimeters. Use a ruler to check any of yours and write down the size. Wait a week or two and check again in case something changes. It is a good idea to do this once a year or more if you are at high risk for skin cancer.
Evolution. Watch and know your skin and check for any changes. Skin cancer can grow quickly. The faster it is caught, the easier it is to treat, especially melanoma.
Some things people often mistake as Skin Cancer are as follows:
If you fight eczema, you may mistake a red, scaly and itchy spot for it instead of SCC (squamous cell carcinoma). To resolve your eczema, try the Ultimate Eczema Kit from Cheryl Lee MD. Once your eczema clears up, if you still red patchy areas schedule a visit with your doctor for a closer look.
If you have a bump that won’t stop bleeding or closes and reopens frequently, this could be a cause for concern. This is a common sign of BCC (basal cell carcinoma) but it might also be SCC. Any kind of bump that doesn’t heal could be a sign of skin cancer and should be examined as soon as possible.
Shiny bumps can sometimes be something simple like a mosquito or spider bite but a persistent one that lasts longer than a week or so could be something more. If you find a shiny nodule that is white, pink or red (sometimes will show up as tan or brown), monitor it for a period of time and mark any changes. Give it a week or two before scheduling a visit to your doctor.
Pigment changes in your skin that appear to spill over into other parts of your skin could be a cancerous growth. These areas could be sensitive to the touch or tender so feel around for any bruises first. Always make a note of changes in skin color because it may not just be a tan or bruise. If you see anything change, get it checked out.
Noticed any dark colored lesions recently? They may be small or might be mistaken for some kind of sunburn, bruise or scrape. Tentatively treat with an antibiotic ointment and if it doesn’t heal, have a doctor take a look.
None of these hidden changes should deter you from enjoying the outdoors. The most important thing you can do to keep your skin healthy is to eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and monitor your skin. A good skin regimen is also highly recommended. You can find excellent skin care products at Cheryl Lee MD that will keep your skin glowing for years to come!