Recognizing Skin Cancer

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)

In 2007 there were over a million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer. Skin cancer is mutated cellular growth on the very outside layer of your skin. Because skin cancer is on the outside layer of your skin, it can be easily detected when you know what to look for. Self examinations should be supplemental to physician or dermatologist visits, but even with an untrained eye you can recognize the signs and symptoms of skin cancer.

After discussing the symptoms of the three major types of skin cancer, you will learn the basic ABC's of identification. The three main skin cancers include:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Basic melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma is often mistaken for a sore that is extremely slow to heal. Basal cell carcinoma often bleeds at its center and can have visible blood vessels. Squamous cell carcinoma can be identified by how thick and red it is; it may develop into a dense or thick mass. Basic melanoma stems from existing moles and are usually dark brown or black.
  • Signs of all types of skin cancer are basically the same. By following the ABCs of cancer detection (defined shortly) you will be alerted to when a doctor's visit should be made. Even if you are unable to determine what type of skin cancer you may have, you will at least be able to identify the possibility of existing skin cancer.
  • The ABCs of cancer detection are as follows:
    • Asymmetry. If you notice that one side of a birth mark or mole is larger than the other this could indicate cancer.
    • Border. If you notice that the perimeter or edges of a birth mark or mole are blurred or ragged this could indicate cancer.
    • Color. If you notice inconsistency in coloring (differing shades or a mix of colors) this could indicate cancer.
    • Diameter. If you notice a change in size, growth in diameter, this could indicate cancer.
    • Evolution. If you notice a basic change in appearance this could indicate cancer.
  • Keeping an eye out for any signs of symptoms of cancer can help you help your doctor detect cancer early so that bigger problems can be avoided. Just remember, always wear sunscreen and check for the ABCs of skin cancer!
  • Author Bio

    Katelyn Schwanke

    MORE FROM KATELYN

    Breast Cancer Treatments

    If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a variety of very successful treatments ...

    Discover More

    Using an Asthma Inhaler

    For those who have been diagnosed with asthma an inhaler can be a crucial life saving tool. For those in fear of anaphylactic ...

    Discover More

    How Do I Know if I Am Pregnant?

    Whether you are trying to get pregnant or not, it is important to be aware of symptoms that indicate that you are pregnant. ...

    Discover More
    More Health Tips

    Treating Skin Cancer

    Finding out you have skin cancer can be a scary prospect to face. However, there are numerous successful options for treating ...

    Discover More

    Preventing Skin Cancer

    Sun is pleasantly warm and makes us happy, energetic, and attractively tan; however too much sun can be a hazard to your ...

    Discover More
    Comments

    If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

    What is 7 - 0?

    There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)