Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Warning signs of skin cancer
Skin cancers, including basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma, may start as changes to a lesion you have had for a long time or they can be new growths. It is important to recognize the warning signs of skin cancer because if treatment is started early it CAN be cured.
Basal cell is the most common type of skin cancer. It grows on parts of your skin that get a lot of sun. It can have many different looks: flesh colored pearl like bumps, dense shaped lesions in which you can see blood vessels, a waxy hard growth, scaly pink or red patch. They often bleed easily. This type of cancer grows slowly. It is important to treat as it can invade nearby bone and tissue under the skin.
The second most common type of skin cancer is squamous cell. It may show up as red firm bumps, scaly red patches, a sore that heals and then reopens, sores that crust or bleed. These cancers may look different on everyone. Untreated they can become invasive and spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is the least common but the most deadliest form of skin cancer. It may appear as changes in a mole that you may have had for a long time or it may appear suddenly as a new dark spot on the skin. Early treatment is critical.
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America recommends using the ABCDE rule to recognize the early signs of melanoma.
A Asymmetry irregular shape
B Border the edge is not smooth but irregular or notched
C Color uneven colors or dark spots
D Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser
E Evolving or elevation the spot is changing is size, shape or texture.
Other things to watch for include sores that do not heal, oozing or bleeding, tenderness or pain, swelling or redness that spreads outside the border of a lesion.
It is important to get to your doctor right away if you see any of the above indications or if you develop any new or unusual skin problem.
Skin cancer can be cured but only if it’s treated early.
The Beacon of Hope is located at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St James City. 239-283-5123.