Recognizing Skin Cancer

Basal and squamous cell carcinomas can vary widely in appearance. The cancer may begin as small, white or pink nodule or bumps or it can be smooth and shiny, waxy, or pitted on the surface. It might appear as a red spot that’s rough, dry, or scaly, or 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 commonly signaled by a change in the color, shape, or size of an existing mole, or also as a new growth on normal skin. Watch for these “ABCD” warning signs of melanoma: Asymmetry – a growth that has unmatched halves; Border irregularity – blurred or ragged edges; Color – a mottled appearance, with shades of tan, brown, and black, which may sometimes be mixed with red, white, or blue; and Diameter – a growth of more than 6 millimeters across (near the size of a pencil eraser), or any unusual increase in size.

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, including your back.  If you notice any unusual changes on any part of your body, make sure to have a doctor check it out.

In picture 1:
Basal cell carcinoma  comes in many forms. Often, it begins as a small, pearly nodule.

In picture 2:
Quamous cell carsinoma may begin as a  or a sore that doesn’t heal,red, scaly patch, or a group of crusted nodules.

In picture 3:
Malignant melanoma is often asymmetrical, with mottled colors and blurred or ragged edges.

skin cancer

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