Skin Cancer Recognition Indianapolis
Cutaneous malignancies are the most common form of human cancer, with over 1.4 million cases diagnosed in the US each year. Most skin cancers have a relatively good prognosis, but all require therapy to prevent potentially damaging local growth. With some types of skin cancer, spread (metastases) are a possibility and can be much more serious. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common kinds of skin cancer and both can vary widely in appearance. These cancers may begin as small, white or pink nodule or bumps; it can be smooth and shiny, waxy, or pitted on the surface. Another early sighn is a red spot that’s rough, dry, or scaly…a firm, red lump that may form a crust…a crusted group of nodules…a sore that bleeds or doesn’t heal after two to four weeks…or a white patch that looks like scar tissue.
Malignant melanoma is less common than basal or squamous skin cancer, but is much more serious. Melanoma is usually signaled by a change in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole, or as a new growth on normal skin. Watch for the “ABCD’s” warning signs of melanoma: Asymmetry-a growth with unmatched halves; Border irregularity-ragged or blurred edges, or Bleeding; Color-a mottled appearance, with shades of tan, brown, and black, sometimes mixed with red, white, or blue or Change in an existing mole; and Diameter- a growth more than 7 millimeters across (about the size of a pencil eraser), or any unusual increase in size.
If all these variables sound confusing, the most important thing to remember is this: Get to know your skin and examine it regularly, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. (Don’t forget your back.) If you notice any unusual changes on any part of your body, have a doctor check it out. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer or have severely sun damaged skin (all three of the most common forms of skin cancer are strongly associated with excessive sun exposure/damage), it is probably a good idea to tell your doctor and have regular skin examinations.