Know signs of skin cancer

Summer weather is here. As sunshine and shorts come out, remember to protect your skin from sun damage and know the signs of skin cancer. By wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, you can prevent future skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 5 million people are treated for skin cancer every year. Whether ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or from a tanning bed, either can cause skin cancer changes in any type of skin tone, and this damage builds up from each and every exposure.

Risk Factors

  • Light colored, fair, skin
  • Skin that easily burns or turns red when exposed to the sun
  • Repeated sunburns
  • Freckled skin
  • Light eyes (blue and green) and hair (blonde and red)
  • Multiple moles
  • Indoor tanning

Types of Skin Cancer

There are two broad categories of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. The most common types of non-melanoma cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, depending on which layer of the skin is affected. These cancers tend to look more like a pimple, patch of dry skin, wart or sore that does not go away. Melanoma is often dark in color, flat and changing in shape, size and color.

What are the signs of skin cancer?

Skin cancer is most common on sun exposed skin such as face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. Monitor your skin for the symptoms below.

Non-melanoma

  • Pink or red bump on the skin (may look like a pimple that does not go away)
  • Swollen, shiny, or peeling area
  • Thick, crusty skin
  • Bleeding
  • Looks like a sore or a wart that does not go away
  • Pre-cancerous changes may appear as dry skin with scales, bumps or are rough to touch

Melanoma – when should I be concerned about my moles?

  • A – asymmetrical (irregular shape)
  • B – border, jagged or irregular edges
  • C – color, multiple colors within the same mole
  • D – diameter: is the mole larger than a pea?
  • E – evolving: is the mole changing in size? Color?

For more information, feel free to contact Reid Family & Specialty Care in New Castle or check out CDC articles on skin cancer (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/index.htm). If you notice an area of your skin that concerns you, please contact your primary care doctor. Coming in July: How to prevent skin cancer. Infographic on skin cancer


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