Skin cancer can prove to be fatal, which is why detecting the signs and symptoms as early as possible can be instrumental in curing the patient. Of all the various types of skin cancer, Melanoma happens to be the most common. There are non-melanoma skin cancers as well, which are less likely to be malignant.
Specialists like Sundoctors advise that one should check for new moles or growths on one’s body at least once a month. Existing moles that have grown in size, or changed colour or have started to itch and bleed should not be overlooked as well.
Most types of skin cancers often start with a brown spot or an irregular pink patch or mole on the skin surface. It can either be a basal cell carcinoma, a squamous cell carcinoma or a melanoma, out of which the latter is most likely to develop into a mole.
Skin cancer could be a result of enlarged lymph nodes- which are small, streamlined collections of immune cells right beneath the skin surface. Hence, one should consult the doctor immediately if there are such protrusions noticeable in the neck, groin or underarm region, where the concentration of lymph nodes in the human body is the highest.
Basal skin cancers are not difficult to cure with the right treatment, unlike Melanoma, which spreads aggressively. Basal skin cancers might appear as flat and firm scar-like marks on the skin. They can be pale or yellowish and can take on a reddish colour.
It can also be a raised patch on the skin and could seem itchy and irritable. On the other hand, they may even look like shiny or pearly translucent bumps, which could have blue, brown or black areas. They could also appear in the form of open sores, which tend to ooze and refuse to heal and become crusty. Abnormal blood vessels can also branch out of them.
A Squamous cell carcinoma, on the other hand, could seem like a lump and have a lower centre with raised outer edges. It can also become scaly and patchy and may start to ooze or bleed. There could be open sores, which refuse to heal or even if they do so periodically, these wounds may tend to return. The cell growth might look like a dark wart.
The ABCD method is often used to spot the symptoms of Melanoma:
Melanoma usually starts with a mole where both the halves are dissimilar so asymmetrical moles can be a sign of danger.
A mole usually has smooth edges so moles with irregular or rough edges should be examined.
Regular moles are of uniform colour, like brown. However, if the mole tends to change colour from black to red, or blue, or white, or any discolouration, it could be Melanoma.
Smaller Moles are usually harmless, but a melanoma will have a large diameter, and it could be about a quarter of an inch or six millimetres across.
A regular mole, even if it is a new one, will not change after it has been formed. However, if the mole tends to change like quickly increasing in size, change in colour or starts to bleed and crust, it could be Melanoma. The mole could also begin to hurt and become sore and painful to the touch.
Not all patches and moles are harmful, and some could be harmless skin allergies or skin infections. However, if any abnormality is noticed on the skin in a short period, a doctor should be consulted to rule out skin cancer, or to start the treatment as early as possible if one is diagnosed.