Skin cancer is one of the treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early. Among the signs to look out for are changes in skin appearance like a growing bump, dry or rough patches, and new or changing moles. When these symptoms appear on the skin, one can visit a dermatologist, and get a referral to an oncologist, to determine if the symptoms are skin cancer or not.
Common causes of skin cancer are exposure to the harmful radiation of the sun and from artificial tanning beds. These have ultraviolet radiation that is not good for the skin. On the other hand, wearing protective covers, using sunscreen and avoiding use of tanning equipments are some of the ways to prevent exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Early Prevention is the Best Way to Beat Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is characterized by abnormal growth of skin tissue. The abnormal growth is caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Some forms of skin cancer can easily be cured, but it has to be detected early. Otherwise, if the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, it may be hard to treat.
To prevent excessive sun exposure, these steps could be taken:
- Seeking shade
- Covering exposed skin with clothing or umbrella
- Using a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen daily with SPF 30 or higher
- Avoiding exposure to artificial sun such as tanning/ sun lamps
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to doctors. Melanoma is usually black or brown in color, and usually looks like a mole. It is often seen on the face, neck, hands and arms – the body parts that are often exposed to sunlight.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer to Look Out For:
- Changes in the appearance of the skin, including itching, bleeding, and growing bump
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- Dry or rough patches
- Any new or changing moles
What is the ABCDE Checklist of Skin Cancer?
This checklist is a guide on the changes in a mole that can help detect melanoma earlier. Keep these in mind:
- Assymetry – one half of the mole doesn’t match the other
- Border irregularity – the outer edges are uneven
- Color that is not uniform – dark black or multiple colors
- Diameter greater than 6 millimeter – about the size of a pencil head eraser
- Evolving – change in size, shape or color