Common Signs of Skin Cancer

All forms of skin cancer should be taken seriously, whether they are the type that spreads or not. The first line of defense against their disfiguring and even deadly effects is you. No one knows your skin better than you, since no one but you are inside your skin. You, a family member, or close friend are the most likely people to notice any changes to your skin, which can be an early indicator. Our dermatologist in Tarzana recommends that you closely examine your body monthly to catch early signs of skin cancer.

The particular symptoms to look for vary with the type of skin cancer, but your job is not know which kind it is, just that you might have one of the following abnormalities:

• Shiny flat areas
• Raised pearly bumps that are red, pink or translucent
• Rough, scaly areas
• Areas that easily bleed or ooze
• Sores that never seem to heal
• Areas that are regularly itchy or red, that swell, or cause pain
• A new mole that has developed or an existing one that has changed

Regarding moles, look for the following, often referred to as the ABCDE rule:

• Asymmetry: Healthy moles are almost always symmetrical
• Border: Healthy moles will have smooth borders; abnormal ones can be notched, jagged, irregular, or blurred
• Color: Healthy moles are evenly colored; abnormal ones may be different shades throughout or have an inconsistent patchwork of colors
• Diameter: Any moles larger than a pencil eraser should be checked
• Evolution: Any mole that changes in size, color, or shape

Examine all areas of the skin, but pay particular attention to places that receive the most sunlight, including the head, arms, hands, neck, ears, face, and shoulders.

If you experience any of these signs of skin cancer, contact us today to schedule an appointment to have it checked.


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