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Spotting Skin Cancer: Know the Warning Signs

skin cancer signs

One golden rule applies whenever a spot on your skin seems odd: See a doctor immediately to examine it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), all three of the most prevalent skin cancers, including the most serious, melanoma, are 99 percent curable if detected and treated early.

The SCF advises setting up an annual consultation with a dermatologist for a full-body skin examination to check for skin cancer. Your dermatologist might recommend visiting more frequently if you fall into a higher-risk category, such as having a history of atypical moles.

You should check your own body before your appointment so that you can talk to your doctor about any skin changes. Keep your hair down, stay away from nail polish, and avoid makeup to prevent accidentally hiding any suspicious moles. This blog will help you know the warning signs of skin cancer

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Detecting Skin Cancer: How to Do It Yourself? 

  • It is advised to perform skin self-exams at least once a month or more frequently if they have risk factors like an inherited skin cancer gene or have spent a lot of time in the sun. If you get the hang of it, performing this check—which should be done in a bright room with a floor-length mirror and a hand mirror—should not take very long.

  • The more frequently you perform these self-examinations, the more familiar you will become with every freckle, mole, sore, lump, and blemish on your body, and the more adept you will become at spotting potential problems in the form of new markings or changes in the size, shape, or colour of existing spots.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has provided the following general guidance on what to look for:

  • A skin lesion or mole that alters in size, shape, or colour, as well as any itch or bleeding patches. Moreover, keep an eye out for any new growths or unhealing sores. 

  • The first step in learning what to look for in early signs and symptoms of skin cancer is to become familiar with your body and its distinctive patches. 

  • Examine your skin in a well-lit space in front of a full-length mirror. To view difficult-to-see places, use a hand-held mirror.

To spot some of the typical symptoms of melanoma, one of the deadliest types of skin cancer, use the "ABCDE rule":

  • Asymmetry: A mole or birthmark has one portion that differs from the other.

  • Border: The borders are jagged, ragged, notched, or fuzzy.

  • Colour: The hue is not uniform and may occasionally include brown or black tones and pink, red, white, or blue spots.

  • Diameter: Although melanomas can occasionally be smaller than this, the spot is more significant than a quarter of an inch across or around the size of a pencil eraser.

  • Evolving: The mole is growing in size, form, or colour.

Melanomas are rarer than basal and squamous cell skin malignancies, although they are typically reasonably curable. Cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas typically develop on the face, head, and neck because they receive the most sun exposure. Yet, they could appear anywhere.

How to identify Basal Cell Carcinomas

  • Areas that are hard, flat, pale, or yellow and resemble scars

  • Raised, possibly irritating reddish patches

  • Tiny pink or red lumps with blue, brown, or black spots that are translucent, glossy, and sparkly

  • Pink growths have high edges and a lower area in the middle, where there may be aberrant blood vessels that are spreading out like a wheel's spokes.

  • Open sores that don't heal or heal but then return (and may have crusty or oozing regions)

Identifying Squamous Cell Carcinomas: How to do it? 

  • Crimson spots that are rough or scaly and may crust or bleed

  • Raised growths or lumps that may have a lower area in the middle

  • Open sores that don't heal or heal but then return (and may have crusty or oozing regions) 

  • squamous growths

However, not all skin tumours match these features. Tell your doctor about anything that have you worried, such as:

  1. Any new spot 

  2. Any area of your body that doesn't resemble the rest of it

  3. Any wound that is not healing

  4. Beyond a mole's boundary, there may be redness or new oedema.

  5. A spot's border colour bleeds onto the surrounding skin.

  6. A region of itchiness, soreness, or tenderness that persists or fades only to return

  7. mole surface alterations such as leaking, scaliness, bleeding, or the emergence of a lump or bump


It is vital to detect the early signs of cancer as soon as possible to cure it. Also, you must set up a medical appointment if you notice any changes in your skin that worry you. Not all changes to the skin are caused by skin cancer, so be careful to ascertain the cause of your skin changes and consult your doctor

jasleen.k Author Name

Jasleen Kaur is a creative content writer. She finds content writing as a way to develop & express her thoughts on different aspects of the world. She aims to achieve excellence through her writing & abundance of knowledge.

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Dr. Nishtha Kalra Reviewer Name
Dr. Nishtha Kalra

Dr. Nishtha Kalra is a healthcare specialist who has been assisting patients with their medical needs for the past 12 years. She is dedicated to bridging the gap between complex medical information and the general public. She looks forward to contributing her expertise to ensure that individuals can access trustworthy, well-informed, and accessible healthcare knowledge.

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